European Union: Modernising The Community Trademark System

Last Updated: 16 February 2016
Article by GVZH Advocates

Recently, the European Parliament brought into effect an amending regulation relating to Community Trademarks, which is also known as Regulation (EU) 2015/2424. The said amendments shall come into effect on the 23rd of March 2016. The purpose behind this amendment is to modernise the EU's trademark system in order to be able to cater for today's fast paced business environment.

The most important changes include but are not limited to the introduction of new names. Notably, the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) has changed its name to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community Trademark (CTM) will be known as the European Union Trademark (EUTM).

Additionally, filing fees will also be revised to the extent that contrary to the current procedure of being able to provide a single payment amounting to €900 upon filing for three classes, the EUIPO will now charge a separate fee for each class. Therefore, the charge for the first class will amount to €850, €50 for the second class and €150 for the third and the following classes. Furthermore, the renewal fee will not cover all the three classes. The current fee amounts to €1,350 but the new fees will comprise of €850 for the first class, €50 for the second class, and €150 for the third and the following classes. Undoubtedly, the amendments have brought about favourable renewal fees.

Another favourable amendment relates to the fact that graphical representations are no longer required as from the 24th of September 2017. Therefore, this means that the procedure to file contemporary trade marks such as marks relating to sound and movement will be easier. However, it will still be vital to accurately specify what is to be safeguarded by the trademark.

Another significant change relates to class headings. These changes were inspired by the IP Translator judgment which provided for essential principles regarding class headings. In time, these principles made a considerable impact on the OHIM's procedures and practices. Previously, if an all-inclusive class heading was submitted in an application this would have covered all goods or services within that class. However, with the coming into effect of the amendments it is vital to note that descriptions of goods and services must now refer to their literal meaning and they will no longer be interpreted broadly.

Hence, CTM registrants who filed their applications before the 22nd of June 2012, have the opportunity to submit their amendments to the EUIPO until the 23rd of September 2016.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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