From 1 May 2009, the official cost of registering a Community Trade Mark (CTM) will be cut by 40% to €900 for online applications.

Community Trade Marks were introduced in 1996 to allow a brand name or a company logo, for example, to be legally protected in every country in the EU in a single application. The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) is the non-profit agency responsible for registering Community Trade Marks. The Community Trade Mark co-exists with national trade marks, the latter allowing undertakings to apply for protection on a country by country basis.

The reduction in Community Trade Mark fees means that getting trade mark protection throughout the EU has never been so affordable. The move is designed to help SMEs in particular gain access to cost-effective protection for their brands. The process of obtaining a trade mark has also been simplified and there has been a strong drive towards doing business online.

The fee reduction and simplified procedure essentially consist in setting the registration fee for Community Trade Marks at zero. Businesses will therefore pay only an application fee, and will no longer have to pay a separate fee for registration. As a result, the processing time for the registration of a Community Trade Mark will also become significantly shorter. In practice, for a basic mark, this means that instead of paying the amount of €1,750 for the application and registration of a Community Trade Mark, businesses will be charged only an application fee of € 1,050 in future. Those who file their applications via the Internet will benefit from a greater reduction and will be charged an application fee of €900 instead of the total amount of €1,600 which is currently payable.

The above fee reductions mean that in future businesses will pay 40% less for obtaining a Community trade mark and as much as 44% less when using electronic means. The individual fee for international trade mark applications and registrations designating the European Community under the Madrid Protocol will also be reduced from €1450 to €870, which also corresponds to a 40% decrease.