As the EU trade mark regime approaches its 20th anniversary, a raft of changes will take effect on 23rd March 2016. Among the most eye-catching are:
- CTM to be renamed EUTM
- OHIM to become EUIPO
- Filing fees cut for single-class applications
- Renewal fees cut substantially
There are also a large number of more technical amendments, for example:
- Formal abolition of “class heading” specifications
- 24th September 2016 deadline for clarifying existing class-heading specifications
- Provision for non-graphical representation (facilitating non-traditional marks, e.g. sounds)
- Search reports to become optional
- Anti-counterfeiting provisions bolstered
- Opposition deadline for Madrid Protocol EU designations cut to four months
- Timeframe for proving genuine use in oppositions altered
- Certification marks to be introduced (in October 2017)
In parallel with these changes, there is a new “Harmonisation Directive”, requiring EU member states to bring their laws and practices more into line with the European norm. It is not thought that this will entail major changes in the UK, which is already largely compliant. However, the situation in many other EU countries is likely to be improved – for example, by the requirement to introduce streamlined procedures for challenging existing registrations without resorting to court action.
These notes are intended for guidance only and should not be regarded as detailed legal advice. Please contact us for further details.