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Calculation of time periods

Background information and guidance on the 2 new instruments which will come into force on 31 March 2013.

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  • The Trade Marks and Registered Designs (Amendment) Rules 2013
  • The Trade Marks (International Registration) (Amendment) Order 2013

On 31 March 2013 the above instruments will come into force and the purpose of this note is to provide some background information and guidance so that private applicants and trade mark attorneys can familiarise themselves with the main legislative changes.

During the drafting of the Trade Mark Rules 2008(SI2008/1797) and the Trade Marks (International Registration) Order 2008(SI2008/2206) certain time periods were reformulated using wording ‘X days/months/years beginning with’ or ‘beginning on’ a particular date or event. This wording replaced the formulation ‘X days/months/years from’ a particular date or event. The intention was to bring consistency to the wording but not to change the method of calculation of the various prescribed periods.

There is however established case law that the ‘beginning with’ formulation defines a period which ends one day sooner than the ‘from’ formulation.

The purpose of the new instruments is therefore to restore the position to what it was prior to the changes made in 2008. This will be achieved by introducing the wording ‘beginning immediately after’ to prescribe time periods other than for rules 5(5), 14(5) and 63(2) of the Trade Marks Rules 2008 where it is intended to retain the ‘beginning on/with’ formulation.

This will mean that, for example, an opposition period of two months following publication on 11 April 2013 will expire on 11 June 2013, rather than on 10 June as present.

The transitional provisions mean that the end of any of the periods covered by the change and which are still open on 31 March will be calculated on the revised basis. For example, the standard opposition period for a mark published on 5 February will now expire on 5 April rather than 4 April.

Published 14 March 2013