Applying for trademarks in the European Union is about to get a little bit easier and less expensive. On January 15, 2016, Directive 2015/2436 will begin to take effect. The new rules aim to make registration of trademarks cheaper, quicker and more reliable, through streamlining national and EU trademark procedures. They will also make it possible to impound the transit of counterfeit goods through EU territory.
Changes we can expect to see under the new Directive include:
- Implementation of the ‘one class, one fee’ principle, meaning that an EU trademark can be registered in just one class at a reduced fee.
- Renaming the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) to the EU Intellectual Property Office, and renaming the Community Trademark to EU trademark (EUTM).
- Removal of the requirement for graphic representation in the registration process.
- Reduction in renewal fees.
Reform of the Community TradeMarks Regulation (207/2009/EC) has received the approval of the Parliament and Council. This Regulation governs EU-wide trademarks, and will come into force 90 days after its publication in the Official Journal. Changes are likely to be seen from early 2016.
The new Directive and Regulation will govern trademarks across the EU, and businesses should therefore review their existing trademark portfolio and consider the best way to protect and enhance the portfolio through new applications or renewals of registration.