ARMENIA: A New Trademark Law Has Come into Force.
Recently a new Trademark Law has been adopted in Armenia. It became effective on July 1, 2010. The Law is a significant step forward from the current trademark protection system in Armenia. Because the Law is new, it will require a development and an adoption of the relevant practice and regulations by the Armenian Trademark Office. Following is a summary of some of the most significant amendments in the trademark protection: The new Law makes it possible to register trademarks in the name of several trademark owners instead of only one owner, as stipulated by the previous law.
Colors and holograms may qualify for legal protection as trademarks.
Now the security and pledge trademark agreements should be registered with a relevant competent authority. Then such an authority should notify the Armenian Trademark Office of the agreements. Furthermore, court and other relevant state authorities should notify the Armenian Trademark Office of any bans or encumbrances related to the trademarks. Then the Armenian Trademark Office should enter these data into the State Trademark Register and publish the information.
The new Law introduces an opposition procedure against pending trademark applications prior to registration. A trademark application must be published within one month upon completion of a formal examination. Within two months after publication, any interested party may submit its arguments against this trademark application. If an opposition is filed, the examiner should inform the applicant of the submitted arguments and give him one month to reply to the opposition. Then the examiner should conduct the substantive examination. In the process of this examination, the examiner must consider opinions of both parties.
Furthermore, he may also refuse the application on the basis of other “absolute or relative” grounds for refusal which he is able to discover.
The new Law has added two additional grounds for refusal to the previous list, namely:
1. A trademark application might be rejected on the basis of similarity with a prior company name in case this company conducts business with respect to similar or identical goods or services.
2. A trademark application might be rejected on the basis of similarity with a designation which is not registered in Armenia.
However, this designation should be in use in Armenia or even outside Armenia and the applicant should be aware of might be aware of such a use.
Disputes arising from non-use cancellation actions against trademark registrations are now settled by the courts only. Under the previous law, such disputes might be settled by the Appeals Board of the Trademark Office and/or the courts.
The new Law has also introduced provisions related to disclaiming non-protected elements of the trademarks. According to the Law, if an examiner notifies the applicant of a potential disclaimer, the applicant will be able to submit his arguments and try to contest the disclaimer. However, if the examiner does not accept these arguments, the trademark will be rejected in whole.
At present the Armenian Trademark Office is developing new regulations based on the new Law, which will clarify new provisions of it.