The new Trademarks Act of Sweden came into force on the first of January 2019. This act was updated due to swift changes in the market and technology and also to bring it into alignment with the latest European trademark legislation, the new EU Trademark Directive (2015/2436/EC). The implementation of the EU Directive brought changes e.g. in the definition of trademarks, the application date and even the fight against counterfeits.
As of the first day of the year, the requirement of graphical representation does not apply, which means that even e.g. sounds and holograms will be eligible for registration if they can be presented in an appropriate format.
Another important change concerns the date of application. According to the new rules, the date of application will not be automatically allocated when a trademark application is submitted to the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV), but only if certain criteria are met (clear intent of registration, name of the applicant, clear representation of the trademark and a list of goods and services should be included in the application). Trademarks, applied for after the 1st of January 2019 will be valid for 10 years starting from the date of application (and not the date of registration).
In opposition and cancellation procedures, the owner of e.g. an opposing mark cannot rely on the registration unless the mark has been used. Furthermore, the parties in opposition proceedings can request a deadline by which they intend to find a solution.
Finally, in order to strengthen the fight against counterfeits, exclusive trademark rights have been extended as Swedish Customs (Tullverket) will be able to seize allegedly infringing goods even in transit. However, the seized goods cannot be destroyed.