The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the office for registering Trade Marks and Designs in the European Union, will undergo major changes including change in the name of the office to “European Union Intellectual Property Office” (EUIPO) and the name of the Community Trade Marks (CTM) to “European Union Trade Marks” (EUTM). The OHIM website, from 22nd to 23rd March 2016, will be updating its online application system to implement the changes in the legal process as laid out in the (EU) No 2015/2424.

The most notable changes which will come into force on 23rd March, 2016 are the revised fee schedule on a new one-fee-per-class system for applications and renewal fees, the change in classification of goods and services making broad general class headings no longer acceptable. The proprietors of such applications filed prior to 22nd June, 2012 will be allowed to state their intention to specify their appropriate goods and services description.

In another interesting change, the requirement of graphic representation will be deleted from the definition of an EU Trade Mark. This is to allow a sign to be represented in any form so long as it is clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective. The significance of this change is that sounds marks which cannot be represented by musical notes can be registered.

An important amendment for Trade Mark proprietors will be that they are now allowed to bar the entry of infringing/ counterfeit goods and seize such goods, even if the goods are not being sold in the EU market. This enables proprietors of EUTMs to tackle counterfeiting acts more effectively.  The other new change for proprietors is that the personal name claim will be predominantly diluted against the use of the personal name of the third party except where the third party is a natural person.

The new amendments to the legislation aims to develop a tighter and well-knit Trade Mark framework for the EU. The changes in opposition proceedings will take some more time to be introduced as Member States have been given time till 14th January, 2019 to implement opposition proceeding changes and 14th January,  2023 for implementation of changes in office proceedings.

The sum of all these changes brought about with this directive is aimed to move towards a more regulated market. The new system seeks to simplify and prioritize the process, protection and scope of application process. We look forward to the new regulations in the hope that it will further harmonize the national Trade Mark systems of EU Member States.

Author Ryan Mendonca.

Sources- here and here

Image source/ attribution here, image is in the public domain.

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