In late December 2015, the European Union (EU) trade mark legislative reform package was published. The package consists of a new Trade Mark Directive and a new Community Trade Mark Regulation and paves the way for the new regime to be adopted throughout the EU providing better protections for rights holders. The proposals aim to make trade mark registration in the EU cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable through:

  • Increased harmonisation of rules
  • Introducing measures to protect brand owners’ rights relating to counterfeit goods in transit
  • Modernised provisions to facilitate registration of new types of trade marks
  • Increased co-operation between the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and national trade mark offices
  • Changes to the governance and finances of the OHIM

Some of the notable changes include:

  • The manner in which seizures of counterfeit goods that are in transit through the EU can occur
  • The elimination of the requirement to graphically represent a trade mark in an application
  • Changes to the costs of trade mark applications
  • Changes in the scope of the application process

The EU’s largest decentralised agency, the OHIM, will change its name to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and over 1.3 million existing registered Community trade marks (CTM) will be called European Union trade marks.

This legislative reform is aimed at building a stronger trade mark framework in the EU and addressing concerns that the existing legislation had become outdated. In addition, it will strengthen the collaboration between the EUIPO and national intellectual property offices.

For further information, see our previous article here outlining some of the other effects the new Directive and Regulation will have on the current EU trade mark regime.