The Argentine Congress has passed Law No. 27.222 that provides that mediation proceedings will no longer suspend the one-year term set forth in the trademark law to settle trademark oppositions. The new law comes into effect on March 22, 2016.
Presently, prosecution of Argentinian trademark applications is automatically suspended when an opposition is filed. The applicant then has one year, starting from notification of the opposition, to negotiate with the opponent to withdraw the opposition. Absent a withdrawal, the applicant must file a lawsuit before a court to seek the dismissal of the opposition or the application will lapse.
Before the new Law No. 27.222, mediation suspended the one-year term until the proceedings closed, whether or not the parties reached settlement. In effect, therefore, mediation extended the statutory one-year term. With the new law, applicants will have to initiate and close mediation proceedings and the court action seeking dismissal of the opposition before the one-year term expires. If not, the opposed application will lapse.
The new law does not carve out opposed applications that are in mediation, and for which the statutory one-year term has been suspended under the present law. Applicants are therefore advised to end such mediation proceedings before March 22, 2016 and, if settlement has not been reached, seek dismissal of the opposition before a court.