The central European Trade Marks office ('OHIM') have
announced that as from 24 November 2014, trade mark applicants will
be able to 'fast-track' European Community Trade Mark
A Community Trade Mark (CTM) allows trade mark owners a unitary
registration system whereby a single registration affords the trade
mark owner registered trade mark rights in all EU member states. At present, a CTM application
can be finalised in six months, whilst OHIM"s proposal is to
decrease this processing time even further.
Whilst there is no additional cost for following this expedited
procedure, the application must comply with certain requirements.
Importantly, the specification of goods and services must be
drafted using OHIM's accepted classification terms. OHIM
further requires the application fee to be paid immediately, as
opposed to the current practise of paying the filing fee one month
after submitting an application.
Applicants may specifically request to fast-track applications,
but applications that meet this criteria will automatically receive
Although improvements such as these are always positive, trade
mark applicants may wish to exercise caution in fast-tracking their
For the moment, it seems that the process is only slightly
expedited and fast-tracked applications may revert to ordinary
processes if any deficiency on the application is cited during
examination. Furthermore, applicants may not wish to use OHIM's
standard classification terms – especially if the mark is
filed internationally with consistent wording, or the applicant
wishes to claim priority from a foreign application that does not
use OHIM's suggested terms. Applicants of marks containing
elements that may be descriptive in a major European language may
also prefer the current system of filing, whereby the mark is
examined before the filing is due and can therefore be withdrawn at
no cost if the mark does not pass examination.
By Christine Strutt, Trademark Attorney
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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