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Differences Between Trademark Objection and Trademark Opposition

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Jun 5th, 2023


7 min read

Trademark is the logo or brand associated with goods manufactured or services provided by a company or individual. The Trademarks Act, 1999 (‘Act’) regulates and prescribes the procedure for trademark registration in India. The two important phases that a trademark registration application goes through are trademark objection and trademark opposition.

A trademark registration application can be objected to and opposed before granting trademark registration. Sometimes people get confused and use the terms trademark objection and trademark opposition interchangeably.  However, these two terms are different. The procedure of trademark objection and trademark opposition is also very different. 

Trademark Objection Under Trademarks Act

An examiner examines the trademark registration application when an applicant applies for trademark registration. The examiner may object to the trademark application if it violates the Act and rules. The objection raised by the examiner is known as trademark objection.

The examiner raises trademark objection in the form of an examination report. The examination report is communicated to the applicant. The applicant should send his/her reply to the examiner within the prescribed time. The applicant will then get a fair chance to give clarification or explanation as to why the trademark should be registered.

The examiner raises trademark objection only to seek clarification or explanation from the applicant regarding the trademark and when there is a strong reason to believe that the proposed trademark lacks certain traits for its registration.

Grounds for Trademark Objection

  • The trademark registration application contains wrong or incomplete information.
  • The proposed trademark is likely to cause confusion among the public or mislead the public because it is a deceptively similar mark.

Trademark Opposition Under Trademarks Act

When the trademark objection hearing concludes, and the examiner is satisfied with the validity of the trademark, he/she will change the trademark status from ‘Objected’ to ‘Accepted and Advertised’. Upon change of the trademark status, it will be published in the trademarks journal. 

The purpose of publishing the proposed trademark in the trademark journal is to enable third parties to look at the trademark and file a trademark opposition. The opposition raised by the third parties against the trademark registration is known as trademark opposition. 

The third parties can raise a trademark opposition after it is published in the trademarks journal. The purpose of trademark opposition is to prevent a person from using an identical or similar trademark that may create confusion among the public and obtain illicit gain from a similar trademark to the one that is popular and established. 

Grounds for Trademark Opposition

  • The trademark is identical or similar to an already existing registered trademark.
  • The trademark is descriptive in nature.
  • The trademark is devoid of distinctive character.
  • The trademark is customary in a current language or the established practices of business.
  • The application for trademark registration is made with bad faith.
  • The mark is prevented by law or contrary to the law.
  • The trademark is likely to cause confusion or deceive the public. 
  • The trademark contains matters likely to hurt the religious feelings of any section or class of people.
  • The trademark is prohibited under the Emblem and Names Act, 1950.

Trademark Objection Vs Trademark Opposition

ParticularsTrademark ObjectionTrademark Opposition
Stage of initiationTrademark objection is initiated immediately after submission of the trademark registration application. It is objected to at the initial stages of registration.Trademark opposition comes after the stage of trademark objection.
Persons initiatingThe trademark examiner raises a trademark objection in the trademark registration application.Any third person can raise a trademark opposition against the registration of the trademark.
Form of initiationThe examiner files a trademark objection in the form of a trademark examination report.A third party files trademark opposition in the form of a notice of opposition.
Form of submissionThe examiner submits trademark objection in the report of the examination of the proposed Trademark. The trademark examination report and its status can be viewed online.The third parties must submit the notice of trademark opposition with evidence and reasons for the proposed trademark opposition or how the proposed trademark would violate the opposing party’s rights if registered.
Reply for initiationA reply must be sent to the trademark registrar by the applicant within a month of receipt of the trademark objection examination report.A reply must be sent to the registrar by the applicant within two months of receiving the notice of opposition.
AppealAn applicant can file an appeal if the trademark application is rejected after sending a reply to the trademark objection.An appeal lies against the judgement of the registrar in the case of a trademark opposition against the trademark application.
FeesThe applicant need not pay any fees for trademark objection reply.The applicant is required to pay the prescribed fees when submitting a reply to the trademark opposition notice.
Finality of processWhen the trademark is accepted after the finality of the trademark objection process, the trademark is published in the trademark journal.When the trademark is accepted after the finality of the trademark opposition process, the judgement of the proceedings is communicated to the applicant and the third party.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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Quick Summary

Trademark is a symbol associated with goods or services regulated by the Trademarks Act, 1999. Trademark objection and opposition are distinct phases in trademark registration. Objection is raised by the examiner for clarification while opposition can be raised by third parties upon publication. Grounds for objection include wrong information or confusion potential, while opposition grounds vary. The process, initiation, submission, fees, and finality differ between objection and opposition.

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