The proposals for an amended fee structure for Community Trade Marks (soon to be ‘European Trade Marks’ or ‘EUTMs’) mostly impact the application and renewal fees, although changes can be seen across the full spectrum.
The new EUTM filing fees will be charged upon a per-class basis, moving away from the current system whereby the basic filing fee automatically covers three classes. This change is intended to both make it cheaper for businesses to obtain single-class protection and to discourage applicants from cluttering the Register by covering more classes of goods/services than they actually need.
For applicants requiring only single class protection, they will benefit from a reduction in the official fees, saving them €50. If two classes are required, then there will be no difference from the current filing cost (with official fees of €900). Any additional classes required (over two) will incur an official fee of €150 per class; this means that an application filed in three classes will soon incur an official filing fee of €1050 as opposed to the current fee of €900. For those applicants that are accustomed to filing in three classes or more, they will be used to paying an additional class fee of €150 for all classes over 3, so practically these changes to the official filing fee structure will result in only a marginal increase in costs for the third class covered by the application. However, any parties considering filing multi-class applications in the near future may wish to bring their plans forward to take advantage of the cheaper filing fees now before the changes come into effect on 23 March 2016.
A further change of note to the payment of application fees is that the one month grace period to settle the fees will now be abolished, meaning that all official fees will be payable at the time of filing. Furthermore, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) will now be the only place where an EUTM application can be filed – this replaces the current (but much unused) option to file an application via a national office. In practice, this particular change is likely to have little effect since all applications are now filed directly at Stobbs through the online e-filing portal to secure a same day filing receipt for applications.
Those familiar with the official renewal fees for registered EUTMs will be pleased to note a significant reduction in costs. The renewal of a one class registration will now result in a weighty €500 saving in official fees (having been reduced from €1350 to €850). Likewise, a two class renewal will now cost only €900, and three classes will be €1050 – thereby mirroring the cost structure for the new application fees. All classes over three will benefit from a €250 saving per class renewed. Whilst the European Commission has predicted an average saving of 37%, it was mindful that EUTM fees should not undercut the fees set by the national trade mark offices within the Union.
Reductions have also been made to the official fees payable for filing an opposition against a new EUTM (now reduced from €350 to €320), for filing revocation or invalidity proceedings (reduced from €700 to €630 ), and for filing appeals (reduced from €800 to €720).
If you wish to file an application before the new fee structure comes into effect in March, please contact us for assistance.