The order follows extensive consultation by what used to be the Patent Office, and will mean that trade mark examiners will no longer prevent marks from being registered under the relative grounds unless the proprietor(s) of the earlier conflicting marks object to the registration.
The IPKat reckons there’s a loose end knocking about here. Under s.11(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1994, use of a trade mark for the goods for which it is registered cannot infringe. The IPKat has always assumed that this was essentially the Registrar indemnifying trade mark owners that any trade mark granted by the Registry was safe to use. How can the Registrar continue to make this guarantee if he no longer checks applications out for conflicts with earlier marks?