Opposition in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Special Effects Ltd v L'Oréal SA
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 12 Jan 2007

    Issues certainly arose, but it seems to us that to describe the applicant for registration as having a cause of action for registration would be an inappropriate and artificial use of language. The same is true of the opponent, who does not, it seems to us, have a cause of action at that stage for preventing the registration applied for. We do not consider that cause of action estoppel can apply in the present circumstances.

    It seems to us that the co-existence of the provisions for opposition and for a declaration of invalidity has the result that opposition proceedings are inherently not final. They exist at the first stage of the process, before registration.

    It seems to us that it is also relevant to consider what is at stake at each stage. In opposition proceedings in the Registry, the consequence of failure for the opponent (leaving aside the abuse of process argument) is that the trade mark will be registered, though subject to the possibility of a later declaration of invalidity under section 47, at the suit either of the opponent or of some other party.

    We could imagine the possibility that, if issues had been fought in that way in the Registry on an opposition, it might then be properly regarded as an abuse to fight the same issues again in court.

  • Special Effects Ltd v L'Oréal SA
    • Chancery Division
    • 17 Mar 2006

    What must be ascertained is whether there is a sufficient degree of identity between the First Defendant and the Second Defendant to make it just that the decision in the opposition proceedings should be binding on the Second Defendant in these proceedings. The Second Defendant could have been joined as a party to the opposition proceedings. In my view, prima facie, each company in a group is to be regarded as the privy of every other company in the group unless it demonstrates the contrary.

  • South Cone Inc. v Bessant and Others (t/a Reef)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 28 May 2002

    Hearing officers are usually very experienced in the practicalities of trade mark registration but are not normally qualified lawyers. Under sections 69 and 78 of the 1994 Act and the Trade Mark Rules 2000 ( SI 2000/136) evidence in opposition proceedings is given by affidavit or statutory declaration. Orders for cross-examination of deponents are permissible but have been rare in the past (although counsel suggested that there may be a trend towards their becoming rather less rare).

    It is not suggested that he was not experienced in this field, and there is nothing in the Civil Procedure Rules to diminish the degree of respect which has traditionally been shown to a hearing officer's specialised experience. In such circumstances an appellate court should in my view show a real reluctance, but not the very highest degree of reluctance, to interfere in the absence of a distinct and material error of principle.

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