On 23 March 2016, the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) will be renamed the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community trade mark will become the European Union trade mark (EUTM). From that date, all existing CTMs and CTM applications will automatically become European Union trade marks and European Union trade mark applications respectively.
The fee structure of European Union trade mark application fees will also change, with a new one-fee-per-class system for a trade mark application as opposed to the existing flat fee for registration in up to 3 classes. In practice, this means a small saving for single-class filings, no change for two-class filings and an increase for filings in three or more classes. We therefore recommend filing applications covering three or more classes before 23 March, to avoid the fee increase.
The change in fee structure will discourage applicants automatically filing to register a trade mark in 3 classes, a current common practice to take advantage of the “3 for the price of 1” fee. Ultimately it is hoped that the changes will lead to more refined trade mark applications as opposed to broad claims for goods and services.
The application fee will now be payable on submission of an application rather than within the one month grace period currently allowed.
The biggest change in fees is the significant reduction in renewal fees, with renewal in one class attracting a reduction of €500.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.