As mentioned in yesterday’s post, trade mark law in Europe will undergo a rather significant reform in the next few months with the new Regulation relating to the Community Trade Mark coming into force on 23 March 2016.
One of the most visible changes brought about by the reform is the introduction of new names for the Community Trade Mark (CTM) and the Office for the Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM). Once the reforms are in place, the CTM will now become known as the European Union Trade Mark (EU Trade Mark or EUTM) and OHIM will become the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). We feel that these names are probably better suited to describe the nature of a harmonized EU Member State trade mark system.
There are also less superficial name and terminology changes to the definition of the CTM/EUTM. The inexhaustive list of signs of which the CTM/EUTM may be will now explicitly include “colours as such”. The current requirement in the definition for the sign to be “capable of being represented graphically” will be removed and replaced with “capable of being represented in a manner which enables the competent authorities and the public to determine the precise subject of the protection afforded to its proprietor”. This new wording hopefully assists in providing legal certainty for non-traditional marks and marks which require representation other than by graphical means (e.g. sound or smell marks).
Our next post will focus on the changes in the official fees for obtaining and renewing CTMs/EUTMs and other fees payable to OHIM/EUIPO.
If you would like to discuss any of the above, or have any questions, please feel free to contact us.