Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
The Republic of Croatia has acceded to the European Union (EU),
becoming one of the 28 EU member states, alongside Austria,
Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United
From an Intellectual Property perspective, this is a welcome
development for Community Trade Mark (CTM's) and Registered
Community Design (RCD's) proprietors, given that their rights
were automatically extended from the date of accession, 1 July
2013, to include Croatia without the need for further fees or
New applications for CTM's and/or RCD's will now
automatically cover Croatia as well. The details of these
applications will also be published in Croatian in addition to the
other official EU languages.
However, there are certain dangers to CTM and RCD right holders
which could arise out of the accession. For example: the expansion
of the EU increases the chances that a CTM may be inherently
unregisterable as the Croatian language may cause descriptiveness
objections which would possibly not have arisen before. A
proprietor of a Croatian national right (ie a National Trade Mark)
could also prohibit the use of an extended CTM or RCD in Croatia,
if the date when the Croatian proprietor applied for these rights
preceded the date of the accession, provided that the rights were
acquired in good faith.
It is therefore advisable to consult a trade mark practitioner
in order to ensure that your CTM's and/or RCD's are fully
enforceable in the EU.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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