The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) is making significant changes to the Trademark Act, aiming to strengthen trademark protection and combat trademark squatting. While the proposed amendment streamlines the opposition and invalidation processes, there are alternative methods being introduced to curb trademark squatting more effectively.
Evolution of the Trademark Act
The draft amendment, already approved by the Executive Yuan, is now awaiting deliberation in Taiwan’s Congress. Once enacted, it will consolidate opposition and invalidation into a single procedure, abolishing the opposition system. However, this change will not leave businesses defenseless against trademark squatters.
New Strategies to Counter Trademark Squatting
In the face of these changes, other strategies will emerge to combat trademark squatting:
Expanded Grounds for Invalidation: The relaxed criteria for filing an invalidation action will empower any party to initiate one based on absolute non-registrable grounds outlined in the Trademark Act. This expanded scope enhances the tools available for preventing improper trademark registrations.
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB): To ensure a thorough review, a TTAB within TIPO will be established. This board will engage in in-depth examination through an adversarial process and oral hearings, facilitating more comprehensive assessment of cases.
Enhanced Adversary System: Under the new framework, the opposition party, not TIPO, will be named as the defendant in appeals against TTAB decisions. This change streamlines the appellate process, ensuring greater efficiency and transparency.
Modifications to Invalidation Process
The adjustments to the invalidation process promise efficiency and clarity:
- Defined Timelines: With the involvement of TTAB, it is anticipated that invalidation actions could proceed within a more structured timeline, reducing uncertainty.
- Reduced Appeals Complexity: The removal of the Petitions and Appeals Committee from the process suggests a potential decrease in the time and financial resources spent on invalidation proceedings.
Interaction with Infringement Lawsuits
The IP and Commercial Court, the hub for resolving IP disputes, plays a pivotal role. If a trademark infringement suit is pending, TIPO can pause an opposition/invalidation action, enhancing the synergy between administrative and judicial processes.
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