OHIM changes of practice
OHIM is introducing changes in practice on suspensions and extensions of time, and new guidelines on the presentation of evidence of proof of use in opposition proceedings.
Both matters were presented in draft form to the OAMI Users Group in March this year, and the Office took on board a number of points put forward before drawing up the final text. The changes will take effect on 15 September, 2010.
Suspensions and extensions of time
Under the new policy, if a suspension is requested by the opposition parties, the Office will grant it for a period of one year (instead of variable periods at present). Subsequent requests will be granted for the same period. During all suspensions any party will be able to opt out and bring the suspension to an end.
With regard to extensions, any first request for an extension during examinations, oppositions or cancellations, which is received in time, will always be granted. However, any subsequent request for an extension of the same period of time will be refused, unless the party requesting the second extension demonstrates that there are exceptional circumstances.
Evidence of proof of use
The Office has drawn up a template for a standard letter proposed for use in opposition proceedings. The letter includes an annex giving instructions on the way in which the evidence should be structured as well as suggestions on content and format.
The instructions include what type of evidences should be filed, and how it should be organised, for example, with regard to numbering pages and describing the purpose of evidence. In particular, the Office strongly recommends that a maximum limit of 110 pages in correspondence should be observed. Failure to follow the instructions may lead to evidence not being taken into account.
The changes, which will be reflected in the OHIM Manual of Trade Mark Practice, are designed to produce a better, more efficient system with benefits for all concerned.