16 December 2015Trademarks

EU Parliament passes trademark reforms

The European Parliament approved widespread reforms to the trademark system yesterday, December 15.

Key changes include a reduction in renewal fees for Community trademarks (CTM) by 37% and expanded rights enabling trademark owners to seize counterfeit goods in transit.

The requirement for a graphic representation of a trademark in an application will also be removed, relaxing the rules on applicants seeking to protect distinctive sounds, smells and tastes.

The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the body responsible for administering CTMs, will be renamed the European Union Intellectual Property Office and CTMs will be known as European Union Trademarks.

Cecilia Wikström, a member of the European parliament for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, and the rapporteur for the reforms, said: “The trademark system in Europe functions well but is in need of modernisation. Parliament has consistently kept the users of the system at the forefront of the discussion and we are glad to see a system that will provide a lot of value for users.

“The reforms that we are now agreeing to will not imply a revolution of the European trade mark system but will bring the legislation in line with the times we are living in. The new rules will allow better protection for rights holders through a strengthening of both the national and European trade mark systems,” she added.

Chris McLeod, president of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, said: "The reforms to the EU trademark system are welcome and will be well received by businesses. These changes have been the subject of lengthy negotiations and help pave the way for further harmonisation of trademark law and practice across all EU and EEA member states.

“The inclusion of new rules to address the abuse of the EU for transit of counterfeit products will be a boost for trademark owners. Making it much easier to intercept such goods passing through EU member states is good for business and makes the process of enforcing trademark rights more robust," he added.

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More on this story

29 September 2017   On Sunday, October 1, the second batch of reforms to the EU trademark system will come into force.