Trademark Hearing

What is trademark hearing?

A trademark hearing is an appearance before the registrar of trademarks, either in person or by an authorized trademark attorney or agent, to tackle the objections by the Registrar or third parties following the filing of a trademark registration application. Trademark hearing may take place at two different stages as below.

Show cause hearing-

When certain objections are raised by the Trademark Examiner upon review of a trademark registration application and the response provided by the Applicant is not satisfactory to the Registrar, a hearing is called. The Registrar summons the Applicant or their trademark agent / trademark attorney to the hearing. This would be communicated to the Applicant or their agent in the form of a notice. The Applicant would be expected to demonstrate the reasons why the mark should not be refused registration.

Opposition hearing-

When both parties have submitted their evidence before the Registrar in a Trademark Opposition proceeding or failed to put their defense before the Registrar within the time prescribed by law, an Opposition hearing is called.  If either party fails to appear for the hearing at the scheduled time, the registrar will issue orders in favor of the other party. The registrar’s decision shall also be communicated to the parties in writing at the address for service as provided. However, if both the parties attend the hearing on the scheduled date and time, the Registrar after reviewing the evidence submitted by both the parties and hearing their respective arguments, determines whether the trademark shall be registered or not which concludes the Opposition proceedings. Any party aggrieved by the order of the Registrar may file an appeal against the order in the respective High Court.

Trademark hearing procedure-

Trademark Hearing Notice

Following receipt of the Trademark Hearing Notice by the appropriate body, the parties summoned may file their submissions before the Registrar, including any relevant information that will assist the Registrar in resolving the objection.

Person or Trademark Attorney needs to appear

On the time and date specified in the hearing notice, the person or his Trademark/agent counsel must appear before the Registrar with the relevant papers and submissions. There is no prescribed dress code but it is expected to be formal.

Beginning for the preparation of Trademark Hearing

Parties may give their submissions in support of their Application addressing the objections taken by registry or third party. Gather all relevant evidence, such as purchase orders, website screenshots, vendor invoices, relevant registrations, license and any other documentation that can help them strengthen their case for acceptance of the trademark.

Trademark Hearing in front of Trademark Registrar

After the Applicant has presented all of your documents and submissions to the Trademark Registrar who will evaluate it and go over all of the proof provided by the Applicant or authorized attorney. If the Trademark Officer is satisfied with the information, the trademark will be accepted else it will be refused. If the trademark officer believes that further clarification is required, they may adjourn it for a few days to give the Applicant opportunity to submit more documents in their favor.

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Procedure for adjourning a trademark hearing-

A request for adjournment of the hearing for reasonable cause can be made under Form TM-M for Extension of Time and paying the prescribed fee of INR 900 at least three days before the hearing date. Furthermore, no party shall be granted more than two adjournments, with each adjournment not exceeding thirty days. The Registrar, however, has the discretion to accept such a request for adjournment, and if so, the Registrar shall notify the parties accordingly.

Documents required for trademark hearing-

Documents required for the trademark hearing vary from case to case, but a few examples are provided below for your convenience:

Power of Attorney A duly stamped Power of Attorney is required to be filed authorizing the trademark attorney to appear on behalf of the Applicant or third party as the case may be. Alternatively, a letter authorizing the trademark agent or attorney to appear on behalf of another person such as the Applicant, third party or the authorized agent or attorney can also be filed.

Affidavit in support In case of show cause hearing, when the trademark is in use, the first date of use is very important in seeking registration of the trademark. As a result, the Applicant attests the date of use for a trademark by submitting a user affidavit for it. The Applicant must provide detailed information about the use of the brand name in the affidavit such as the goods, first date of use, sales and proprietorship claims of the mark.

In Opposition proceedings, affidavits in support of the evidence are required to be tendered by both the parties. The Affidavit must contain the detailed statements of the brand, its use, sales and details of the documents submitted along with it as well as refuting the claims of the other party by giving counter submissions on oath.

Additional Submissions Make short notes of important things like case laws and examples related to the case for future reference. Furthermore, the party must provide evidence to support their case and demonstrate the ability of their trademark to be registered along with relevant case laws supporting the facts in issue and legal principles involved.

Proof of Business- Submit all evidences and documents that contain your trademark as proof of its use in your business and presence of the trademark in the market.

How to circumvent the trademark hearing step while registering a trademark?

There are a few mistakes that people make when applying for registration of a trademark that result in an objection and, ultimately, the hearing step in the Trademark Registration process. However, by selecting the correct Trademark to apply for registration and following the proper procedure under expert guidance in submitting the trademark registration application, one can avoid the hearing process from the start. To reduce the risk of receiving an objection to the Trademark application, keep the following guidelines in mind when selecting one:

  • A trademark must consist of a device, brand, label, heading, ticket, word, letter, signature, name, package, numerical or colour combination, or any combination of the foregoing features.
  • It should be simple to say and spell. A good trademark is one that the general public can easily pronounce and spell, as well as one that is easy to recognize and remember. As a result, it is also simple for the general public.
  • It must be distinct from already existing brands in the market. Uniqueness can be either natural or acquired.
  • The most valuable trademarks are self-created unique terms or words, i.e. coined words, or other geometrical patterns and designs.
  • It can only be indicative of the nature of the product and not descriptive.
  • A good Trademark must not be excluded from the Trademark Act due to its restricted Trademark Categories.
  • All the necessary details and documents required in filing trademark application must be provided in a detailed and proper manner.
When is trademark show cause hearing scheduled?

Trademark objections occur when there is some invalidity in the way the application was filed, the trademark itself, or for other reasons. While the response to the examination report is usually sufficient to help you get your application and trademark accepted, they are not always. As a result, the trademark hearing is the next step.

How to attend trademark hearing online

The trademark hearings can be attended via physical mode or video conferencing in accordance with the Trademark Rules, 2017.

Procedure for Online Trademark Hearing-

  • The causelists of all show-cause hearings via video conferencing are now available in dynamic mode on the official website of CGPDTM here w.e.f. December 1st,2022. Online hearing links for the Opposition hearings are sent by the registrar to the service email provided by the party or their agents.
  • The Party or their authorised agent or attorney can connect to the hearing on the given time by following the link provided for their Application in the dynamic cause list.
  • The conference will begin at the scheduled time and the party or their authorized agent/ attorney can appear and argue their case before the concerned authority who will then decide the matter on merits.
important things you should know

The agent/applicant/attorney concerned receives a hearing notice informing them of the application number and date of hearing. The hearing notice is usually sent about 15 days before the hearing date.

After the show cause hearing is concluded and the Examiner is satisfied that the trademark merits registration, the Application is accepted and advertised in the Journal for four months inviting Oppositions from public. If no opposition is received, the trademark is registered after the lapse of four months as per rules. In case of trademark opposition hearings, if the Registrar decides in favour of the Applicant, the mark is registered for ten years.

A trademark hearing is simply a meeting with the Registrar of Trademarks. According to the TM Rules, 2017, the applicant or his agent duly authorized by him may attend the hearing.

Yes. According to the Trademark Act 1999, when joint owners file an application, the trademark is considered to be owned jointly by them equally and no measurement of the rights is permitted. The financial benefits or outcome of using the brand, on the other hand, can be calculated by the joint owners based on the terms and conditions signed by the parties.

Virtual modes of hearing have been available since 2020, and all Trademark Hearings in India are now conducted online. However, for the purpose of filing Trademark Applications, all states and union territories have been divided into five Regional Jurisdictions. They are as follows:

Mumbai: The States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, and Chhattisgarh

Ahmedabad: The States of Rajasthan and Gujarat and Union Territory of Dadra, Diu, Daman, and Nagar Haveli.

Kolkata: The States of Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, West Bengal, Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Nagaland.

New Delhi: The States of Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Union Territories of Chandigarh and Uttarakhand.

Chennai: The States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, and Union Territories of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep Island.