"(... ) 3. As from 3 December 2007, costs are not usually awarded against rights holders or applicants who do not defend an action brought without prior notice. This practice still applies to trade mark revocation and invalidation proceedings and to opposition proceedings where, under the new Trade Marks Rules 2008 ("the rules"), the opponent files an opposition without having previously filed a Notice of Threatened Opposition on Form TM7a, or otherwise given the applicant prior notice of the impending opposition.
4. However, as the Registrar copies Notices of Threatened Opposition to applicants, the UK-IPO accepted, in ‘The Response to the Consultation on the new Trade Mark Rules’, that the act of filing Form TM7a would usually be considered as giving the applicant an opportunity to withdraw the application before any formal opposition was filed. The Form TM7a does not provide the applicant with a summary of the intended grounds of the opposition, but in many cases these will be obvious from the results of the Examiner’s search for earlier marks sent to the applicant prior to the publication of the application. Further, the TM7a does provide the applicant with the opponent’s contact address.
5. Thus, an award of costs from the normal scale will usually be made to an opponent where a) a Form TM7a was filed, b) a subsequent Notice of Opposition is filed, and c) the opposition is undefended. The Registrar will use his discretion to reduce that award, or give no award at all, where the opponent did not allow reasonable time between the filing of Form TM7a, and the subsequent Form TM7, or is shown to have unreasonably refused to answer a request from the applicant to give an indication of the prospective grounds for opposition, despite having been asked to do so.
6. Where an opposition is defended, the provision or otherwise of prior notice will not usually affect the award of costs at the conclusion of the proceedings, which will normally be based on the published scale of costs."
The TPN can be retrieved in its entirety by clicking here (which will take you to the IPO's new website).