On its website OHIM has today published the following proposal regarding a potential change in practice concerning suspensions and extensions of time in opposition proceedings :
"OHIM is proposing a change in practice with regard to suspensions and extensions of time in opposition proceedings. In a presentation to OAMI Users Group the office said the move was in response to users demand that the situation be made clearer and more consistent.
If a suspension is requested by the opposition parties, the office proposes in future to grant it for a period of one year (instead of variable periods at present). Subsequent requests will be granted for the same period. During all suspensions any party will be able to opt out and bring the suspension to an end.
With regard to extensions, it is proposed that any first request for an extension, which is received in time, will always be granted. However, any subsequent request for an extension of the same period of time will be refused, unless there is demonstrably a situation of force majeure for the party requesting the second extension.
The office hopes that the proposed changes will make opposition suspensions and extensions more predictable. After hearing the views of the User Group the Office will shortly adopt a final position. This will be clearly announced on the Office website."
Class 46 comment: I understand the argument about the predictability of deadlines. However, while this proposal is very much in line with the UKIPO rules, I cannot help but thinking that the proposal concerning a second extension of time only being granted in "a situation of force majeure" could make the life of attorneys, who are desperately seeking instructions and information from the clients, rather difficult...