The New Directive
On 15 December 2015, the European Parliament adopted a new EU Trade Mark Directive (Directive 2015/2436) which entered into force on 23 March 2016. It amends the EU Trade Mark Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 207/2009) and amounts to the most significant reform of European trade mark law in recent years.
The Reform Package
The reform package has two main objectives, namely to make EU trade mark registration systems more efficient and user-friendly for businesses, and to ensure co-existence and cooperation between the trade mark systems. This includes greater cooperation between national offices and the newly named European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Reform features include:
- Alteration to the fee structure for EU trade marks;
- Combating counterfeit goods especially when goods are in transit through the EU; and
- Facilitating the registration of new types of trade marks (e.g. sound, motion or hologram marks).
It is expected that the reform package will greatly improve trade mark protections for all companies. The certainty and fairness it creates for the market is also thought to increase incentives for innovation, something which is welcomed by all players in the European market.