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New European Trademark Regulation
New European Trademark Regulation

Patricia Ibarrola Redondo


March 2016 will see the biggest changes to trademark laws in the EU since the introduction of the Community trademark in 1996. Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council amending the Community trademark regulation was published on December 24, 2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union and it will enter into force on March 23, 2016 (with a few exceptions for some provisions, which will on October 1, 2017). It marks the culmination of work that has been carried for seven years to reform the EU trademark system.



We set below some of the most important features of the Regulation:



(1). First, trademark owners should familiarize themselves with some new terminology. From 23 March, the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) will become known as the European Union Intellectual Property Office. In addition, what we know as a Community Trademark (CTM)will become a European Union Trademark (EUTM).



(2) A very important change will be the fee structure, since it will change from a basic fee that covers up to three classes of goods and services to a “pay-per-class” system. This means that in practice, applicants will pay a lower fee if they only apply for one class. If the apply for two, it will be the same fee, and if they apply for three or more it will be a higher fee. Additionally, the fees payable for opposition, invalidity or revocation proceedings are all reduces as is the cost of filling an appeal.



(3) When it comes to trademark classification, it has incorporated the European Court’s decision in IP Translator case in June 2012 (C-307/10). It is important to note that since the decision in this case, the wording of trademark classifications changed, and registered trademarks had the obligation to be specified with sufficient clarity and precision. Formerly, it was common practice to use broad class headings when applying to register trademarks. Therefore, this means that the scope of protection afforded to those registered in respect of classing headings before June 2012 is unclear. That is why, if a CTM was applied for before 22 June 2012, the Regulation sets out a six month transitory period to submit a declaration to re-classify their trademarks.



According to the European Commission, this reforms will make trademark registrations systems in the EU much more accessible and efficient for business, specially in terms of lower costs, increased speed and better legal certainty.



References:



OHIM’s dedicated website section: https://oami.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/eu-trade-mark-regulation



Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Community trademark and Commission regulation:

https://oami.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/contentPdfs/legal_reform/regulation_20152424_en.pdf



European Commission Press Release http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4823_en.htm
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