The status “advertised before acceptance” or simply called ABA, implies that the mark has been advertised in the weekly Trademark Journal, though with certain reservations. Once the mark gets advertised, the opposition period of four months begins during which the applicant has to wait and watch to check if the mark gets opposed!

A trademark could be advertised before acceptance (ABA) or as accepted (AAA).  Section 20(1) which lays down provisions relating to ABA mentions that a mark might be advertised before acceptance where the Trademark Office considers that Section 9(1) or Section 11(1) or (2)(both laying down objections to registration of a mark) apply to the said mark. In other words, where the Trademark Office is not completely convinced about the registrability of the mark in terms of distinctiveness/non similarity with existing marks, then the mark might be ordered to be advertised “before acceptance.” Section 20(1) also mentions that the Trademark Office might advertise a mark “before acceptance” where it finds it expedient to do so, due to some exceptional circumstances. But practically, we see that more often than not, a mark gets advertised “before acceptance” as it either gets hit by Section 9 or 11.

Often in case of an opposition against a mark(ordered ABA), “ advertised before acceptance ” is shown as a ground for refusing the mark on the lines that the Trademark Office per se was not convinced completely on the registrability of the said mark. In the absence of such oppositions, there is absolutely no difference between a mark advertised before acceptance and a mark advertised as accepted as ultimately, all the marks find their way to the register of Trademarks without any discrimination. The said status only assumes significance during the pre-opposition stage, indicating that the Trademark Office does not fully approbate the distinctiveness of the mark. The other scenario during which ABA assumes significance is, post registration of the mark, when a petition is lodged for the cancellation/rectification of the mark where, like in an opposition, ABA could be used as a ground for refusal.

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