When a non-U.S. entity wishes to extend its International Application to the U.S. via the Madrid Protocol (a section 66 application), the U.S. PTO has 18 months to notify the Internatonal Bureau (IB) at WIPO that the application has been refused or could potentially be refused. If the PTO doesn’t notify the IB, the application is approved by default. On the plus side, U.S. entitites using the protocol to obtain non-U.S. protection, also are protected by this ‘approval by default’ provision.
In this opposition discussed by the TTABlog, an opposition, (timely filed by opponent) was dismissed by the TTAB as the PTO had not timely fuflfilled its notice requirements to the IB.
All is not lost for the opponent, as it may now file a cancellation petition if it sees fit.
It seems that the PTO will have to gear up to send an automatic “18 months and pending” letter to the IB.
Background PTO rules of practice here.