1 October 2015Jurisdiction reportsMichiel Rijsdijk

European trademark reform—a summary

The package introduces an altered CTM Regulation, while also introducing a new Trademark Directive. The general goal of the package is to modernise the European trademark system and make it more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs, speed, predictability and greater legal certainty.

Fee reduction

Reductions in fees for the CTM (which will become known as the EU trademark) can, according to a press release from the commission, lead to savings of up to 37%. While this is always welcome, these costs are usually dwarfed by other costs, such as costs of marketing the trademark.

Basic fee for an application for an individual mark by electronic means will be €850 ($956);

Fee for the second class of goods and services for an individual mark will be €50; and

Fee for each class of goods and services exceeding two for an individual mark will be €150.

The ‘pay for one get two for free’ system in terms of classes will no longer be applicable. Before, with one registration a trademark applicant could apply for goods and services in three different classes for the same price as for one class. This clogged the register with unused trademarks in certain classes, which is why this system will be abolished. The result should be a cleaner register which also gives a more accurate view of trademark use in specific classes, but also leads to more expense (and therefore less of a fee reduction) for trademark owners wishing to register in more than one class.

No ‘graphically displayable’ requirement

The requirement that a trademark needs to be displayed graphically will be abolished under reference to the Sieckmann ruling. In this decision the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that non-displayable signs such as smells and sounds may be registered, as long as they are described clearly and precisely. In the proposal it is now noted that a sign should be permitted to be represented in any appropriate form, so not necessarily by graphic means, as long as the representation is clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective.

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