Once a trademark application is accepted, it is published online in the Official Journal (http://aipa.am/en/trademark-applications/) for a two-month opposition period. The most common ground for opposing a trademark is prior rights when the opponent owns an earlier mark that it considers the same as, or similar to, the applicant’s. The opposition may be based on previously filed or registered trademarks, an earlier well-known trademark, geographical indication or another earlier sign used in the course of business.
If an opponent decides to challenge a mark, the initial stage involves the filing of a notice of opposition. An official fee of approximately $25 is payable. In the opposition proceedings, one or two exchanges of briefs will take place between the parties before the Armenian Intellectual Property Agency issues the opposition decision.
Once a trademark has been registered, it is still possible to take legal action to challenge it and various options are available, including procedures known as invalidation and cancellation. Anyone may file a cancellation action based on non-use if within a continued period of five years after the date of registration the trademark has not been put to effective use. The registration of a trademark may also be invalidated on request on the grounds of nullity based on absolute grounds (i.e., the trademark concerned is descriptive and non-distinctive). In Armenia a cancellation/invalidation action is judged by a court of general jurisdiction in proceedings on the merits. The judgment is subject to appeal with the Court of Appeals.
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