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Difference Between Trademark Objection vs Opposition

Trademark Objection vs Trademark Opposition

Trademarks are valuable assets that distinguish one company's goods and services from those of another. A trade mark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these elements that identifies and distinguishes a source of goods or services in the marketplace.

The Trademark registration provides the owner with the exclusive right to use the trade mark in connection with the goods or services covered by the registration.

However, the registration process is not always straightforward, and trademark applicants may encounter obstacles in the form of objections or opposition.

Trademark Objection

A trademark objection is a preliminary examination report issued by the department after the application has been filed and applicants are required to submit the trademark objection reply  for the same.

Some common grounds for trademark objections are:

  • Descriptive or generic : A trade mark that is merely descriptive of the goods or services cannot be registered. For example, the word "Apple" cannot be registered for a company that sells apples.

  • Deceptive or misleading : A trade mark that is likely to deceive or mislead the public cannot be registered. For example, a trade mark falsely suggests a connection with a well-known brand or misrepresents the nature, quality, or geographic origin of the goods or services.
  • Similarity to existing : A trade mark that is identical or similar to an existing trade mark in the same or similar class of goods or services cannot be registered.
  • Non-distinctive : A trade mark that lacks distinctiveness and does not distinguish the goods or services from those of others cannot be registered. For example, a trade mark that consists of a common or basic design element or a word that is commonly used in the trade.


Department allows the applicant to respond to the objection within a specified period, usually one month. The applicant can file a reply to the objection notice, addressing the grounds for objection and providing evidence or arguments to overcome the objections. Department will then review the reply and decide whether to accept or reject the application and you can check the trade mark application status by visit department website.. If department is satisfied with the reply, it will allow the trademark to proceed to the next stage of examination. If the Department is not satisfied, it may issue a final refusal, and the applicant may file an appeal before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).

Trademark Opposition

A trademark opposition is a legal proceeding initiated by a third party to prevent the registration of a trade mark.

Any person who believes that the registration of a trademark would be prejudicial to their interests may file a notice of opposition with the Department within three months from the date of publication of the trade mark in the journal.

The trademark journal is a weekly publication of the department that lists the trade marks accepted for registration.

The grounds for opposition are similar to those for objection, such as:

The grounds for opposition may include:

  • Similarity to existing : The opponent may argue that the trademark is too like an existing registered trade mark or a pending application.
  • Non-distinctiveness: The opponent may argue that the trademark is too generic or descriptive and lacks distinctiveness.
  • Deceptive or scandalous: The opponent may argue that the trademark is likely to deceive or cause confusion among consumers, or that it is scandalous or offensive.

If an opposition is filed, the trade mark applicant has an opportunity to respond to the opposition and the opponent has an opportunity to file a counter-statement. The matter is then decided by the Registrar after considering the evidence and arguments presented by both parties.

In summary, a objection is raised by the Registrar during the examination stage if there are issues with the trade mark application, while a opposition is initiated by a third party to challenge a trade mark application that has been published for opposition.

Both processes are important steps in the trademark registration process in India and can have significant implications for the success or failure of a trade mark application.

Following is the table summarizing the main differences between trademark opposition and objection:


Trademark Objection

Trademark Opposition

Stage in Registration Process



Who initiates the process?

Trademark Registrar

Third-party (opponent)

Grounds for Challenge

Non-compliance with legal requirements

Likelihood of confusion with existing marks

Timeframe for Challenge

Within 1 month of the objection notice

Within 3 months of publication (extendable)

Parties involved

Trade mark Applicant and Registrar

Opponent, Trade mark Applicant, and Registrar

Response time for parties

One month (extendable)

One month (extendable) for the applicant, one month for the opponent's counterstatement

Decision maker

Trade mark Registrar

Trade mark Registrar

Possible outcomes

Acceptance, final rejection

Acceptance, rejection, or withdrawal of trademark application

Legal Basis

Section 9, 11, and 18 of the Trademarks Act, 1999

Section 21 of the Trademarks Act, 1999

What is the objective of trademark opposition?

The objective of trademark opposition is to prevent the registration of a trade mark that conflicts with an existing trade mark.

What are the consequences of not responding to a trademark objection?

If a response to a trademark objection is not filed within the specified time frame, the trade mark application may be deemed abandoned, and the trade mark will not be registered.


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