Industrial Property Board of Appeal

The Board of Appeal is an independent pre-trial institution that solves appeals filed to contest the decisions made by the Estonian Patent Office in cases prescribed in the legal acts: complaints concerning the decision, registration procedure, refusal or delay of the registration procedure, and disputes between the third party and the applicant or owner, based on the third person’s opposition, request for the invalidation or termination of the exclusive right, request for the revocation of the right granted to the object of industrial property, or other request.

The Board was set up in 1992, but its tasks, organization, composition, procedure and location have been reorganized several times over the last 30 years. From 2019, the Board is located at the Estonian Patent Office, but is independent in its activities. In 2023, the Board had two permanent members (chairman Tanel Kalmet, vice-chairman Sulev Sulsenberg). Where the law provides for a collegial decision of the Board, one or two additional members from the experts in the field shall be included in the decision-making body. The list of additional members has been approved by the Minister of Justice from among the Estonian Patent Office officials, patent attorneys and other experts in the field. A total of 38 additional members are on the list, 20 of them active in the trade mark area. The duties of Board secretary are carried out by Marit Soomets from 2019.

The web page of the Board of Appeal with sub-pages contains information on the subject and nature of the procedures with references to the relevant records in the trade mark database of the Estonian Patent Office. In cases prescribed by law, the decisions of the Board are published on the website. The collegial decisions of the previous composition of the Board can be found on a separate page.

The appeals and requests filed with the Board in 2023, and the collegial and exclusive decisions taken concerned mainly trade marks, but there was also one appeal concerning a patent (withdrawn) and one request concerning a utility model. A total of 3 appeals (2020 – 7; 2021 – 3; 2022 – 8) and 64 requests (2020 – 94; 2021 – 86; 2022 – 82) were filed with the Board during the year. The vast majority of the requests filed (55) were oppositions to trade mark registrations, fewer requests were filed for the declaration of invalidity (5) and for the declaration of termination of the exclusive right (4). 2 appeals and 46 requests concern Estonian national trade marks, 18 requests concern international trade marks. In 40 instances, the application was based on an earlier European Union trade mark, in one instance European Union trade mark application and in two instances registered Community design . By month, the most requests were received in January and December (12), no requests were received in August and November. All requests and and one appeal were filed through a patent attorney.

The appeals and requests filed with the Board and the collegial and exclusive decisions taken

With the decision, the Board of Appeal either dismisses the appeal or opposition, or grants it in full or in part. In 2023, the Board made 50 collegial decisions with 2 or 3 members, in one case the decision concerned 3 request. One dispute that was processed in the Board is known to continue in court and therefore the Board’s decision has not entered into force. The Board collegially granted 32 oppositions in full and dismissed 12 oppositions. 25 decisions were made in an accelerated procedure (2021 – 18; 2022 – 25), i.e. in a situation where the applicant or the owner had not indicated their intention to oppose the request. In 2023, the majority of such decisions were made with two members, according to the amendment to the law. The Board also granted 3 appeals (including one in part). In 2023, 23 proceedings were closed by an exclusive decision, and in one case the request was rejected. Out ot the exclusive termination of the procedure, 7 took place during the agreement period (17 in 2022).

In general, the resolution of the dispute takes place in a written examination and a session will be arranged only in exceptional cases. In 2023, no disputes were discussed at a session.


Tanel Kalmet
Tanel Kalmet

Chairman of Industrial Property Board of Appeals