Cyprus enacted legislation amending the Trademarks Law, Cap 268 (as amended, the "Trademarks Law"). This amendment has brought about notable changes with respect to the registration and legal protection of trademarks in Cyprus. Moreover, the Trademarks Law now fully transposes Directive (EU) 2015/2436 to approximate the laws of the member states relating to trademarks into the Cypriot legal order.
The following are the key changes brought about by the Trademarks Law:
1. Revised application procedure for the registration of trademarks
A simplified procedure is introduced in relation to applications for the registration of Cyprus trademarks to the Intellectual and Industrial Property Section of the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver (the "Cyprus IP Office"). Applicants can submit their applications for registration of trademarks to the Cyprus IP Office either directly or through an authorised representative.
The requirement to retain a practicing advocate for the purposes of applying for a trademark registration in Cyprus has been abolished and this is now an optional route. So has the requirement for the submission of a power of attorney together with the application for trademark registration.
Applications may be submitted in hard copy or electronically through the e-filing system of the Cyprus IP Office. The Trademarks Law has also introduced reduced fees for online applications, while all applications will now be published on the website of the Cyprus IP Office. Cyprus already participates in TMView.
2. Multi-class application
The Trademarks Law introduced the multi-class application for the registration of trademarks, mirroring the system in place under EUIPO.
The application for the registration of a Cyprus trademark under the Trademarks law may now include more than one class, under a single application. The single application system in place further reduces application fees.
3. Opposition period and procedure
The time available for opposition following publication of an application for the registration of a Cyprus trademark by the Cyprus IP Office has been extended under the Trademarks Law from to three (3) months. During the opposition period, oppositions to the registration of the intended Cyprus trademark may be filed by third parties.
An opposition can be filed by a third party on the basis of one or more prior marks or rights, provided these belong to the same rightholder. On receiving an opposition which is admissible by the Cyprus IP Office, the latter notifies the party that applied for registration of the trademark concerns of such opposition and forwards the opposition documents. The applicant and opposing party have two (2) months to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement of their dispute, which can be extended to six (6) months on request of both parties.
The opposing party will have two (2) months to present the grounds and evidence substantiating their opposition to the proposed registration of a Cyprus trademark. The applicant has the right to respond to such grounds and evidence.
Non-use of a trademark for a continuous period of five (5) years by the opposing party can be relied as a defence by the applicant in opposition proceedings.
4. Increased protection period
The protection period for Cyprus trademarks has been increased from seven (7) to ten (10) years, commencing on the date of filing of the application for registration. The Trademarks Law provides for subsequent renewals of the trademark for additional 10-year periods by submission of a relevant application and payment of the applicable renewal fee.
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.