Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
The Community Trade Mark system is about to enter a new chapter
in its relatively short but successful history, following an
agreement reached by the European Commission, the European
Parliament and the EU Council on a European trade mark reform
package, which will revamp its 1989 Directive and 1994
The agreement still has to be confirmed by the European
Parliament and the Council and, after adoption, EU member states
will have three years to incorporate the new Directive into
national law. Many of the amendments to the Regulation will,
however, come into effect as soon as 90 days after publication in
the EU Official Journal.
One of the interesting changes include two name changes: The
Community Trade Mark will, in future, be known as the
European Union Trade Mark, while the Office for
Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) will be known as the
European Union Intellectual Property Office.
Other changes include the removal of the requirement that a
trade mark should be capable of graphic representation, thereby
clearing the way for trade marks such as sound trade marks to be
registered. A trade mark should, however, still be
represented in a way that enables "clear and precise"
determination of the subject matter.
A change in the fee structure is also to be welcomed. A separate
fee will be payable for each additional class applied for beyond
the first, instead of the all-inclusive 3 class fee currently
applicable. This will make applications for one or two classes more
Further changes include the enhancement of the current
protection of geographical indications and traditional terms, and
measures against counterfeit goods in transit through the European
Union. Harmonised registration and other procedures across the EU
in all national trade mark offices are also on the cards.
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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