The European Union (EU) continues to announce ambitious initiatives to modernize its intellectual property laws. The latest proposal seeks to overhaul how the EU protects trademarks.
In Europe, trademarks can be registered at national level or at EU level as a Community trademark (CTM). The two types of trademarks coexist, and the same mark may be registered as a Community and/or as a national trademark.
The latest proposals seek to modernize and streamline both systems. As highlighted by the European Commission, there are several reasons for change. For instance, no significant changes have been made since national trademark registration in the EU Member States was harmonized 20 years ago and the unitary Community trademark was created more than 15 years ago. Since then, the business environment has changed significantly. In addition, many formal requirements and procedures remain non-harmonized.
As further detailed by the European Commission, the proposals do not seek to create a new system but perform a well-targeted modernization of existing provisions, with the following aims:
- Streamlining and harmonizing registration procedures, by introducing principal procedural rules into the Directive and taking the Union (CTM) system as a benchmark
- Modernizing the existing provisions and increasing legal certainty, by amending outdated provisions, removing ambiguities, clarifying trade mark rights in terms of their scope and limitations and incorporating extensive case law of the Court of Justice
- Facilitating cooperation between the Member States’ offices and the EU Agency, by putting in place a legal framework for this cooperation
- Improving the means to fight against counterfeit goods, in particular when they are in transit through the Union territory
- Adapting the texts to the terminology and procedures of the Lisbon Treaty (e.g. renaming the Community trade mark which will be called the European trade mark in the future) and to the inter-institutional Common Approach on decentralized agencies of July 2012 (e.g. new rules on governance of the EU agency)
- Making the fee structures more flexible to better meet the needs of users and adapting (reducing) accordingly the fees payable to the EU Agency.
How Can I Help?
The proposals are largely good news for businesses seeking to protect their trademarks in the EU. If approved, they will not only lead to greater legal certainty but also reduced application and renewal fees. For assistance pursuing a trademark application overseas, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +