Launch of the Reformed EU Trademark System
First and foremost, the name of a trademark protected in the whole European Union and hitherto known as the Community trademark is being changed. From March 23, 2016 it will be called the European Union trademark. All the existing Community trademarks and their applications will be renamed to the European Union’s trademarks and their applications.
Secondly, a new and slightly lower registration fee will be applied to applications submitted after 23 March 2016, that is EUR 850 for a trademark application covering one class of goods or services, plus EUR 50 for the second class and EUR 150 for the third and each subsequent classes. Until now, this fee was EUR 900 for three classes plus EUR 150 for each additional class. A trademark renewal fee will also become lower. These are the good news for business.
Thirdly, the procedure for registration of non-traditional (smell, sound, hologram etc.) trademarks is to be facilitated and become more streamlined, as according to the new regulation there will be no requirement, which used to be mandatory, to represent a trademark graphically and there will be the opportunity to describe the mark in other ways as well. The previous requirement has been widely criticized because although such trademarks were theoretically possible, sound or smell marks were not being registered as their graphical representation is virtually impossible.
Fourthly, the possibilities to refuse registration of a sign as a European Union trademark or to challenge the existing registration on the basis of the applicable legal protection for geographical indications and designations of origin, traditional specialities guaranteed, traditional terms for wines and plant variety denominations have been expanded.
Fifthly, the new provisions of the regulation will also contribute to the fight against counterfeiting. The owner of a European Union trademark will have the right to prohibit transportation of goods denoted by an identical or confusingly similar trademark within the EU territory in transit, what has not hitherto been prohibited.
Finally, numerous amendments of the procedure for registration of trademarks will enter into force, the most important of which being that it will no longer be possible to submit an application for the European Union trademark through the national trademark offices (which is the State Patent Bureau in Lithuania). From now on, all the European Union trademark applications will have to be submitted only to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) directly (hitherto known as the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market or OHIM).