The reform of the community trademark regulation
The EU Directive 2015/2436/EU (Directive) and the related to EU Regulation 2015/2424/EU Regulation) entered into force on 23 March 2016 which have introduced some relevant changes in the regulation of trademarks in the European Union.
The reason for the changes was that the harmonization of the national trademark systems of the member states took place 20 years ago and the introduction of the community trademark system happened 15 years ago and since then some great changes have taken place regarding the economic environment of the European Union. As a result, it became necessary to review the community trademark system, to refresh its regulation and to make it compliant with the other European Union rules. The reform aims for economic growth and encouraging innovation, for making the trademark registration more efficient, for reducing costs and administration.
The reform is based on the Regulation which amends the earlier rules on community trademarks, the Directive deals with the harmonization of the national trademarks systems. In the following we will present some important rules from the regulations.
European Union trademark instead of community trademark
Regarding the changes, the first change to emphasize is the name changes: the name of the community trademark was changed to European Union trademark, the name of the trademark office, Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market (OHIM) was changed to European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The application procedure became faster as according to the Regulation the application can only be submitted directly to the EUIPO.
New rules on marking the classes – making the declarations for 6 months
A relevant change is that from now on the applicant has to define the products and services accurately and expressly regarding which he would like to have trademark protection. So during the application, for the classification the titles for the Chapter of the Nice Classification, the general definitions are only acceptable if they are accurate enough. The general titles of the chapters are only applicable for those products and services which comply expressly from word to word with the titles.
In connection with this the Regulation contains a transitional rule: the holders of the trademarks submitted before 22 June 2012 in which case the trademarks were registered for all titles in a chapter of the Nice Classification, are entitled to make a declaration until 24 September 2016 whether their intention was during the application to get a trademark protection for products and services not covered by the chapter title by defining the exact product or service for the other products and services as well.
The greatest change for the practice is connected to the application fees: earlier the registration fee for three classes was EUR 900 for electronic submissions and EUR 1050 for submissions on paper. The new regulation has changed the system and declares the application fees through classes, which is EUR 850 for one class, EUR 900 for two classes and EUR 1050 for three classes in case of electronic application, it is EUR 1000 for paper based submission. Examining the new fees, it can be declared that submitting an application for one class, the amounts have decreased, however in case of more than two classes, they have increased.
The implementation deadline of the new rules in Hungary
The reform of the regulation in the trademarks took place on 23 March 2016 as the Directive and the Regulation entered into force. The deadline declared in the Directive for the implementation of the rules to the national regulation and for the making of the relevant national regulation is 14 January 2019 and in some cases 14 January 2023. Until the implementation, the Hungarian trademark application procedures have to take place in accordance with the currently effective rules.