Trademark owners received a welcome respite from the relentless drumbeat of bad economic news when the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market for the European Union (OHIM) recently announced that a 40% reduction of Community Trade Mark (CTM) fees has been approved by OHIM’s Fees Committee.

The most significant change is that the former registration fee of €850 (roughly $1,120) for securing a CTM registration will be entirely eliminated.While there will be minimal increases in the application fees (for a fax or paper filing, an increase from €900 to €1050 (roughly $1,190 to $1,390); and for an electronic filing, an increase from €750 to €900 (roughly $990 to $1,190)), the elimination of the registration fee represents a significant decrease in the cost of securing a CTM registration. It is anticipated that OHIM will continue its practice of permitting up to three (3) classes of goods/services to be included in an application for the cost of one (1) application fee. OHIMhas not reported whether the new fees will be applied retroactively to pending applications.

The new fees for electronic filings will become effective on May 1, 2009, and the new fees for fax or paper filings are expected to be approved and implemented within a matter of weeks. For trademark owners who wish to seek protection for their marks in the twenty-seven (27) countries of the European Union covered by a Community Trade Mark registration, the reduced fees could not come soon enough - or at a better time.