The Trademark Search and Opposition Rules, Subsidiary Legislation 416.03, prescribes the procedure for filing and examining an opposition to the registration of a trademark under Maltese Law.
Under the Rules, for each new trademark application, the Commerce Department is obliged to carry out a relative search under the national trademark database in order to identify identical or similar registrations or applications. In the affirmative, the Department will notify the applicant of the results and if the latter does not submit a request to withdraw the application, the Department will go on to notify the earlier right holder of the results. In any case, if the requirements for registration are met, the Comptroller shall proceed to publish the application on the IP Online Journal.
The proprietors or authorised persons of one or more earlier marks or other rights within the meaning of Article 6 of the Trademarks Act, Chapter 416 of the Laws of Malta, may file a notice of opposition within 60 working days from the publication of a trademark application. Where the opposition is found admissible, the Department will notify the applicant who may, within 60 days from the date of notification, either (i) withdraw the application, (ii) restrict the goods and services covered by the application or (iii) submit a counterstatement outlining grounds against the opposition.
Where the opposition is maintained, the Department shall proceed to take a decision based on the information and evidence provided by the opposing party and the applicant. It is also possible for the parties, at their joint request, to come to a friendly settlement.
The IP Online Journal is issued on a weekly basis in accordance with Rule 5 of the Subsidiary Legislation. Opposition to the registration of trademarks may be submitted to the Commerce Department within the timeframe mentioned above together with the prescribed fee of €50.
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