The recent United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) Marco Polo decision highlights the risks of the owners of International Registrations not appointing a UK address for service for the UK designations.

In this case, the mark was cancelled after the owner did not respond to a notice issued by the UKIPO because the office in Australia was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current practice of the UKIPO, where no UK address for service is recorded, is to directly notify the proprietor and not the WIPO representative.  There was no UK address for service in the Marco Polo case and as such, the invalidity notice was sent directly to the owner.  The owner failed to file a defence to both the first and second notices and consequently, the mark was cancelled.

The owner appointed a UK address for service and appealed the decision.

The matter is currently being reviewed by the UKIPO and we expect to receive guidance on this issue in the near future.