SUMMARY

  • OHIM, the EU office that administers the Community trade mark (CTM), has announced that it is reducing the official fees it charges CTM applicants by 40%.
  • The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) is carrying out a consultation with frequent users of its filing systems with a view to reducing its fees and improving service levels.

CTM

The total official fees for applying for a CTM (in 3 or less classes) will fall from €1,600 to €900 if filed electronically (and from €1,750 to €1,050 if filed via fax or post). Under the current system, a CTM application required two separate official fee payments – one when the application was filed and a second when the trade mark was registered. The new system entails one official fee payable when the application is filed.

Although further details of the new fees are yet to be confirmed, OHIM has announced that the owners of pending applications will also benefit from the reductions.

The changes will give users of the trade mark system better value for money and deal with OHIM's current budget surplus. OHIM has not said when the new fees will take effect but has promised to try to pass on the reductions to trade mark users as quickly as possible. Indications from Brussels are that the fee reductions will be implemented early this Summer.

We will be passing on these reductions in full to our clients as soon as the new fees are introduced.

UK TRADE MARKS

Not to be outdone by its European trade mark counterpart, the UKIPO wants to ensure that it continues to provide an affordable service - to enable businesses to protect their intellectual property during the economic downturn. Its proposals include halving the official fees for opposing UK trade mark applications and the possible abolition of "series" trade mark applications. The recently introduced fast-track application process may also go. This reflects positively on the UKIPO - its normal application process is generally quick and it seems there is not sufficient demand to justify its fast-track option.

Details of the UKIPO consultation can be found at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-policy/consult/consult-live.htm