EU 30 Aug 2017

Changes to EU trademark law practice

On October 1, 2017, revised EU trademark procedures will come into force. It includes amended rules for the requirement for graphical representation, the procedure for claiming priority and opposition proceedings. Furthermore, a new type of trademark is introduced at EU level – Certification Marks.

Requirement for graphic representation is removed

Previously, the EU law required that only those marks that could be reproduced graphically could be trademarks. An application for an EU trademark was therefore required to contain a graphical representation of the mark applied for. Now this requirement is removed and it makes it easier to register non-conventional marks such as smells and sounds, etc. However, the representation of the mark must remain clear, precise, independent, readily available, lasting and objective.

Priority

In order to claim priority from a previous right, the claim will have to be made at the same time the application for the EU trademark is submitted to EUIPO.

Opposition

In the opposition process, new rules will be applicable to submission of evidence.

As of October 1, evidence of earlier registered EU trademarks or national trademarks available through an online source recognized by EUIPO may be submitted to the Authority by referring to the online source. It should be noted that all EU Member State’s national trademark registers are recognized by EUIPO.

For other evidence submitted at EUIPO, certain formal requirements have been laid out. The requirement is that evidence must be clearly identified and referred to. As a consequence of non-compliance with the formal requirements, the party risks that the EUIPO disregards the evidence.

EU Certification Mark

A counterpart to Swedish certification marks is introduced at the EU level. The function of this type of mark is that the product or service that the trademark identifies complies with defined standards set out in the regulations of use, irrespective of the identity of the undertaking that actually produces or provides the goods and services.

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