From the date of publication onwards, third parties who believe your trade mark should not be registered have three months to object.
There are usually two motives for objecting:
The third party has an earlier right (or more than one) and believes that yours will, if registered, conflict with it
In order to prevent your mark from being registered, they must oppose your trade mark by filling in a form and paying a fee of €320. If an opposition is filed, your mark will be subjected to — and must succeed in — opposition proceedings. An opposition can be filed within three months after a trade mark has been published.
The European Trademark Office decides on these disputes after both parties, the applicant and the opponent, have submitted evidence and arguments.
You can minimise the risk of opposition by searching for potential conflicts before you apply by using our comprehensive trademark search service
Withdrawal and limitation of the application
At any moment between the filing of the application and the grant of the trademark, we can always limit the application, for example by reducing the number of classes initially claimed.
It may be necessary to withdraw or limit the trademark, for example, when there is a conflict with a third party that claims pre-existing rights.
The third party considers that your trade mark should not have been accepted.
They can invoke any “absolute ground” that they see fit. Absolute grounds are requirements that your trade mark needs to satisfy like being distinctive, non-descriptive of the business you are in and clearly represented. To oppose your trade mark, they should send a corresponding communication to the Office explaining why they believe the trade mark should not be registered. We call this a ‘third party observation’ and it is free of charge. However, it should only be used when a serious reason for contesting the trade mark exists. Once the observations are received, the Office will issue a receipt to the person making the observations (the ‘observer’), and the observations will be communicated to the applicant. Thereafter, the observer will not receive any further communication from EUIPO. In particular, the observer will not be informed about the outcome of any re-examination of the application.