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General Court: opposition and revocation proceedings are independent of each other

In case T-27/09 Stella Kunststofftechnik GmbH appealed against the earlier decision of the Board of Appeal. The latter allowed the revocation of the applicant's wordmark “Stella” in a number of classes (6, 8, 16 and 20) in the proceedings brought by Polish Stella Pack S.A.

The applicant claimed that the Board of Appeal erred in law wrongfully rejecting the submissions which aimed to prove the genuine use of the mark in question. The General Court, however, dismissed the plea as there was a failure to set out the essential elements of the legal argument in the application itself.

The applicant also argued that it was unlawful to accept the application for revocation as the opposition proceedings started by the applicant against the intervener's mark have been brought before the OHIM and are still pending. The applicant relied in a number of Regulations including Regulation No 2868/95 and the OHIM’s Internal Guidelines. Nevertheless, the General Court held that none of the cited regulations referred to a mutual connection between the revocation and opposition proceedings. Additionally, these proceedings are governed by two different titles of the Directive 40/94 (Title IV for the opposition proceedings and Title VI for revocation), each having their own purpose and effects. Therefore different rules (eg., time limits etc) apply to each type of the proceedings.

The General Court upheld the decision of the Board of Appeal. “Opposition proceedings and revocation proceedings are two distinct and autonomous types of proceedings, each with their own effects, and that it is possible to entertain revocation proceedings irrespective of whether opposition proceedings based on the mark to which the application for revocation relates have been brought and are still pending.” (para. 32)

Posted by: Sasha Yelnik @ 12.21
Tags: oppositions, revocations,
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