Requesting Reconsideration of an Israel Patent Office Decision

Berik Design USA Inc. , and Greenstar Hong Kong Ltd.,  (“Opposers”) represented by JMB, Factor & Co. are opposingIsrael pending trademark Nos. 227959 and 227960 by No Fear International LTD, (“Applicant”) represented by Shlomo Cohen & Co.

The following interim ruling relates to a request by Applicant’s counsel to have a decision of the Patent Office Adjudicator reconsidered.

BACKGROUND

Shortly before the deadline for filing a response to the Opposition, the Applicant requested a two month extension to file their response and legal arguments against the Opposition , but the Patent Office granted one additional month only.

Claiming that the Opposers were uncooperative and that obtaining evidence from abroad was problematic, counsel for Applicant requested that this decision be reconsidered.

The Applicant did not provide JMB, Factor & Co. (the Opposers’ Counsel) with a copy of their request, as is customary.

The Adjudicator requested the Opposers’ respond to the Applicant’s request. This was particular difficult for the Opposers’ Counsel, since they had not been provided with a copy of the request. The Opposers’ Counsel spent many days attempting to obtain a copy of the request from the Patent Office, a task which proved to be difficult since the clerk handling the matter was on vacation at the time.

After finally obtaining the details of the request, JMB, Factor & Co., responded to it,  informing the Adjudicator that in principle, the Opposers’ do not oppose the Applicant’s request for an additional month’s extension. However, the Applicant’s counsel  had never contacted them to request such an extension. Furthermore, the Opposers’ Counsel requested the imposition of costs on the Applicant for the time spent in obtaining a copy of the request from the patent office and in responding to it..

The Ruling

According to the Adjudicator for Intellectual Property, Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi, there is a list of instances where reconsideration of a ruling is legitimate, that is detailed in Appeal No. 1574/11 Strauss Marketing LTD. vs. Moshe Orman, 2011. In her opinion, the current situation does not fall into an appropriate category and thus the decision should not be reconsidered.

Nevertheless, Ms Caspi Shoshani went on to look at the specifics of the case, and noted that the counter-case should have been filed by 30 August 2011, but the request for an extension was only received on 4 September 2011, albeit dated 24 August 2011. The applicant claimed to have relied on a reminder letter from the patent office dated 14 July 2011, but there was a general letter from 31 March 2011 from the trademark department of the patent office to the effect that no reminders would be sent.

Consequently, the request for an extension was rejected and costs ofNIS1500 were awarded to the Opposers.

Following the ruling, the Applicant’s Counsel requested the Adjudicator to reconsider her decision regarding the extension and the amount of the damages.

The Applicant has since filed his response, a copy of which the Opposers’ have yet to receive. The Adjudicator has since ruled that the since the response has now been filed, the request for an extension is moot. Furthermore, the Arrbitrator has ruled that the level of the costs awarded shall not be amended.

Opposition to Israel TM 227959 and 227960, Berik Design USA INC. V. No Fear International LTD.

COMMENT

My brother Aharon, head of trademark department in our firm won this little skirmish, which is nice. Of more importance of course, is to win the opposition proceedings.

It is quite unreasonable for something to take 10 days to reach the patent office from a law firm that uses couriers, and in the age of faxes. Furthermore, regular mail shouldn’t take that long to arrive, and important documents sent by mail could be sent registered or express mail. I think Ms Shoshani Caspi’s ruling reflects this.

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