The European Commission has recently announced details of a proposed trade mark reform. It is hoped that proposals under the reform will prove beneficial to users of the trade mark registration systems across the EU, resulting in cheaper procedures and more legal certainty.
The reform will bring changes in terminology, with ‘Community trade mark’ (CTM) becoming ‘European Union trade mark’ and the ‘Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market’ (OHIM) becoming the ‘European Union Intellectual Property Office’.
The proposal which will arguably have the greatest impact concerns fees. Currently, a CTM can cover up to three classes of goods and services for the same price but it is proposed that a “one-class-per-fee” structure be introduced, meaning that there is no longer an obligation to pay for classes of goods and services that are not needed. This new fee structure should also discourage applicants from filing overly broad specifications.
In addition, more effective trade mark protection should be achieved against counterfeits, in particular, goods in transit, and it is hoped that the exploitation of the EU as a distribution centre for fake goods to international destinations will be reduced.
There are a number of other proposals, many of which have been articulated in EU trade mark case law over the past 20 years. Formal confirmation of the proposals is still required from the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union but it is expected that the EU Trade Mark Regulation will come into effect in 2016 and the Trade Mark Directive will be implemented by the Member States within three years. Hopefully the new measures will enable national trade mark offices and OHIM to collaborate together, resulting in increased accessibility to the CTM system for SMEs.
If you have any questions regarding EU trade mark reform then please contact Chloe Fernandez on [email protected] or 0118 952 7247.
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