On January 1, 2019, Act LXVII amending a number of industrial property laws entered into force in Hungary. The Act was primarily intended to transpose Directive (EU) 2015/2436 into national legislation, meeting the deadline of January 14, 2019 by which Hungary had to fulfill its harmonization obligations.
In addition to the restructuring of fees for trademark-related services, the Act introduced a number of other amendments, discussed below.
The graphical representation requirement no longer applies when submitting a trademark application, opening way for the registration of new types of trademarks, including position, pattern, motion and multimedia marks.
The Act emphasizes the need to precisely define the list of goods and services. Namely, “the goods and services for which protection is sought shall be identified by the applicant with sufficient clarity and precision to enable the competent authorities and economic operators, on that sole basis, to determine the extent of the protection sought.”
Grounds for refusal have been revised and clarified. The amendments include the following:
- Likelihood of association will not be considered a separate relative ground for refusal; it will be examined within the frame of likelihood of confusion;
- Trademarks with reputation can claim a broader scope of protection – their holders can oppose or challenge not only identical and confusingly similar trademarks that are used for similar goods or services, but also similar trademarks used for goods or services that are not similar.
- The definition of earlier rights has been clarified;
- New grounds for refusal were introduced for geographical indications.
In opposition proceedings, a cooling-off period of two to four months was introduced. This period must be jointly requested by both parties.
An oral hearing must also be jointly requested by both parties, not only one of the parties. However, in complex cases, the Hungarian IPO can still request an oral hearing without a request filed by the parties.
The rights and obligations arising from trademark protection, as well as the extent and the limitation of trademark protection have been defined in a more precise way.