After several months negotiating changes to European community trademark regulations, European member states finally reached an agreement and drafted the new EU trade mark Regulation that is entering into force on March 23, 2016 (UE 2015/2424).
According to this new Regulation some minor changes will apply to the Community trademark systems such as:
- Change of the Office’s name: until now, the Office that is responsible for the Community trademarks and Community Designs was named Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). According to the new Rule, this Office will be called European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO);
- The ‘Community trademarks’ will be renamed as European Union Trademarks;
- As all the trademark owners will be aware of, a trademark must provide a list of specific goods and/or services over which they seek protection – all goods/services in the market are classified under the International Nice Classification. Until now a Community trademark had a filing tax of 900€ and covered up to 3 classes of goods or services; so trademark holders that required protection in only one class were required to pay the same tax as a trademark application covering three different classes.
- Once this new Rule enters into force, the new European Trademark in a single class will imply a tax of 850€ while until now the minimum tax for a Community trademark was 900€ (minimum protection until March, 2016 was for 3 classes)
- Some fees will be slightly reduced. Attention must be paid to the renewal fees that drop from 1350€ to 1050€ for a trademark in 3 different classes of goods or services.
In general terms, the modified regulation confers more rights to the owners of EU trademarks to prevent their trademark being counterfeited such as the possibility to prevent third parties from importing goods to the EU without being released for free circulation; the right to prohibit the importation of goods that are labelled or packaged with a protected trademark affixed, etc…
Another relevant change is that owners of Community trademarks filed before 22nd of June, 2012 that protected general terms of the class headings in the Nice Classification will be requested to detail the precise goods/services they wish to protect that might fail under the general heading classification.
In case the owner does not provide information about the goods/services the protection of which he would like to maintain, the Office will understand the registration only covers the literal meaning of the terms used.
Those goods or services that might fail under such general classification would then be excluded from protection.