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Absolute grounds for refusal formed an important part of the EU trademark reform package, but the full impact of the changes will be ironed out by the courts, says Carola Onken of Klaka Rechtsanwälte.
In December 2015 the largest piece of legislation amending EU trademark law so far, namely Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 (amending regulation), was passed. On March 23, 2016 the first part of the regulation entered into force. The remaining provisions will have effect from October 1, 2017.
The changes introduced concern, among others, the absolute grounds for refusal, on which the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (formerly OHIM) may reject a trademark application on ex officio grounds. The most important changes are summarised below.
"It will, however, be left to the executive director of the EUIPO to lay down the formats, size and other technical specifications of electronic files which are considered admissible."