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The Trade Marks (Proof of Use, etc.) Regulations 2004

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Amendments to the Trade Marks Act 1994

4.  After section 6 there shall be inserted—

Raising of relative grounds in opposition proceedings in case of non-use

6A  (1)  This section applies where—

(a)an application for registration of a trade mark has been published,

(b)there is an earlier trade mark in relation to which the conditions set out in section 5(1), (2) or (3) obtain, and

(c)the registration procedure for the earlier trade mark was completed before the start of the period of five years ending with the date of publication.

(2) In opposition proceedings, the registrar shall not refuse to register the trade mark by reason of the earlier trade mark unless the use conditions are met.

(3) The use conditions are met if—

(a)within the period of five years ending with the date of publication of the application the earlier trade mark has been put to genuine use in the United Kingdom by the proprietor or with his consent in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered, or

(b)the earlier trade mark has not been so used, but there are proper reasons for non-use.

(4) For these purposes—

(a)use of a trade mark includes use in a form differing in elements which do not alter the distinctive character of the mark in the form in which it was registered, and

(b)use in the United Kingdom includes affixing the trade mark to goods or to the packaging of goods in the United Kingdom solely for export purposes.

(5) In relation to a Community trade mark, any reference in subsection (3) or (4) to the United Kingdom shall be construed as a reference to the European Community.

(6) Where an earlier trade mark satisfies the use conditions in respect of some only of the goods or services for which it is registered, it shall be treated for the purposes of this section as if it were registered only in respect of those goods or services.

(7) Nothing in this section affects—

(a)the refusal of registration on the grounds mentioned in section 3 (absolute grounds for refusal) or section 5(4)(relative grounds of refusal on the basis of an earlier right), or

(b)the making of an application for a declaration of invalidity under section 47(2) (application on relative grounds where no consent to registration)..

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