Following two years of inter-institutional negotiations, on the 21st April 2015, the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council (the so-called “trilogue discussions”) reached a provisional political agreement on the reform of the European trademark system.
It is understood that the reform of the current system will improve the conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trademark protection against counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU’s territory. Moreover, the enhanced legal framework will encourage innovation and economic growth by making pan-European trademark registration systems more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal certainty.
It is anticipated that the EU trademark reform package will lead to a modernised and more efficient legal framework and will promote entrepreneurship and competitiveness within the EU
The salient features of the reform include:
- a reduced level of fees to be paid by applicants and proprietors of trademarks;
- an offsetting mechanism to cover expenses incurred by national industrial property offices resulting from the handling of procedures involving EU trademarks;
- closer cooperation between national offices and the OHIM in projects to promote convergence of practices and tools in the field of trademarks and designs;
- the improvement of the governance structure and the establishment of sound financial procedures in the OHIM;
- the renaming of the OHIM to “European Union Intellectual Property Office”;
- the implementation of efficient and expeditious administrative procedures by the national offices for revocation or declaration of invalidity of trademarks;
- the adaptation of the designation and classification of goods and services to comply with recent EU case law, in conformity with the international classification established by the Nice agreement.
It is anticipated that the EU trademark reform package will lead to a modernised and more efficient legal framework and will promote entrepreneurship and competitiveness within the EU, which, in view of the huge contribution of trademark intensive industries to economic performance and employment in the European Union, is certainly positive news for Europe as a whole.
The provisional agreement will now need to be duly endorsed by the Council and by the Legal Affairs Committee, before being put to a vote by the full house.