Fabian Demicoli

Consultation: Revision of the European Trade Mark system


GRTU's
EU Desk has this week attended an important consultation organized by MEUSAC on
the trademark system. – A
trade mark serves to distinguish the goods and services of a company. It is the
mark through which a business can attract and retain customer loyalty, and
create value and growth.

The mark works in this case as an engine of
innovation: the necessity to keep it relevant promotes investments in Research
& Development, which leads in turn to a continuous process of product
improvement and development. This dynamic process also has a favourable impact
on employment.

 

The
proposed package of reforms aim to improve conditions for businesses to
innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against
counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU's territory. It
also aims to foster innovation and economic growth by making trade mark
registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for
businesses in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater
predictability and legal security.

 

So what is being proposed?

 

Graphical
representation: The need for a graphical representation removed to be replaced with
other more advanced methods which according to the European Commission will
help companies more in complying with such a requirement. It is not as yet
clear how this requirement will be replaced.

 

Rights
conferred by a trademark: e.g. as regards goods brought into the customs
territory: improving the means to fight
counterfeiting by allowing/clarifying possibility of seizure of counterfeit goods in transit or shipped to end consumers

 

Protection of geographical
indications and geographical
terms. This is applicable to goods that specifically come from a particular
region.

 

Protection of trade in comparative advertising. This is very much linked to competition law however comparative
advertising using another trademark where there is an issue of misleading in
the advertisement will be controlled to ensure protection.

Trade marks included as objects of property (transfer,
licensing, levy of execution and insolvency)

 

Designation
and classification of goods and
services, including use and interpretation of class headings. As it is
currently the case with the national authority, when there is an application
for a trade mark one has to list what goods and services will be associated
with it and the relevant classification.

 

Ex officio
examination will become only
limited to absolute grounds for refusal. Currently the examinations deal with
also partial grounds for refusal however these are seen by the European
Commission as adding bureaucracy and going beyond the result they seek to
achieve and therefore proposes to limit examinations strictly to absolute
grounds.

 

It will become mandatory to have both administrative opposition
and cancellation procedures.

 

Harmonisation of rules on duration of protection
and renewal.

 

Whereas before a fee could be paid for multiple classes chosen the Commission is proposing
that the fee is applicable for each class chosen so as to discourage
unnecessarily choosing classes.

 

Filling of
application via national
offices abolished

 

Including a filing date obligation to
pay the fee linked with the filing of the application (one month period
abolished)

 

Searched – current search regimes abolished to be
replaced by modern IT tools

 

 

The consultation runs till 04.07.13. For further details of to send
comments by email: .

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