Trademark Oppositions in Morocco
Oppositions in national trademark registration procedure in Morocco
A trademark is any sign that can be represented graphically and capable of distinguishing goods or services.
After filing the trademark application, there is an examination step in which the examiners from the Patent and Trademark Office checks the proposed description of goods and/or services associated with the given mark and decides whether it can be registered or not.
1. Trademark opposition filing deadlines in Morocco
In case that the examiner considers that the trademark is distinctive for certain goods or services of a trader and that it is not deceptive, he gives the approval for publication of the mark in the International Trademark Gazette by the Moroccan TMO.
After publication in the Official Gazette, there is a period of 60 days after the publication date and in case of International Registration the opposition term is two months from the date of receipt of the International Trademark Gazette by the Moroccan TMO, term in which any person who has previous rights and/or who has reasons to believe that he would be damaged by the registration of a pending trademark may file an opposition. This period is not extendable.
Given the short time for filing an opposition, most owners of major or valuable trademarks subscribe to the Official Gazette (which contains a list of trademarks published for opposition or have services that monitor the Official Gazette for publication of potentially conflicting trademarks.
2. Trademark opposition parties in Morocco
It is important to note that, at this stage, the official examiner is no longer involved with the application.
The opposition to the grant of a trademark application may be filed by the owner of previously registered trademark or of a well-known trademark or by any other owner of previously registered intellectual property rights: trademarks, company names, domain names, author’s rights, etc.
The opposition must be filed in writing and accompanied by payment of the official opposition fee. If the fee is not paid, the opposition is not taken into consideration by the Office.
The opponent has to prove that there are valid grounds as to why the trademark applicant is not entitled under law to register or to continue holding the mark.
3. Trademark opposition grounds in Morocco
The grounds of opposition must contain a statement showing how the petitioner would be damaged by the registration of the pending trademark, as well as a statement of the grounds for opposition.
An opposition can be filed based on absolute or relative grounds. The absolute grounds may be based on a descriptive or non-distinctive character of the trademark filed for registration, on a conflict with official signs, etc.
The relative grounds state that a trademark is confusingly similar to an existing registered trademark or that it conflicts with an existing prior common law rights established. An opposition based on relative grounds can only be filed by an owner of any prior relative rights.
4. Defense to a trademark opposition in Morocco (answer to an opposition; counter-statement)
The defense usually consists of a number of simple denials of the notice of opposition.
At this state, there is no need to submit any evidence in support of the defense of the opposition.
There is no official fee to be paid for filing the counter-statement.
5. Examination and decision in a trademark opposition file in Morocco
It is a common procedure that the parties (the trademark applicant and the opponent) come to a settlement agreement regarding use of the trademark (usually, this means a limitation of the number of classes for the pending trademark or adding an element of distinctiveness).
The trademark registration process does not include a substantive examination.
6. Appeals to a trademarks opposition decision in Morocco
An opposition decision can be appealed within 15 days as from the date of its notification to the interested part before of the Trade Court of Appeal of Casablanca.
Higher appeal is not possible.
If you are facing oppositions in national trademark registration procedure in Morocco, please contact us at email@example.com.