After years of negotiation, in which the AIM Trade Mark Committee was heavily involved from the very start, the European Parliament and Council have now approved the new rules governing trade marks throughout the EU.
The two new pieces of legislation, together known as the Trade Mark Package, go to national marks (the Trade Mark Directive) and European-wide marks (the European Union Trade Marks Regulation) and will come into effect in spring 2016 (the exact date depends on when they are officially published).
The overall aim of the Package was to modernise and streamline the dual trade mark systems of the Member States and the EU itself. There are many valid business and practical reasons as to why an applicant may choose to have a national rather than a European-wide mark and AIM has always strongly advocated the need for coherent, efficient and effective systems in all trade mark offices. Much of the new Package is technical, but some headline issues for brand owners include:
- A revised fee structure for European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs, previously known as Community TMs). The new structure will introduce a separate fee for each class.
- Notably – and something that AIM has fought for very strongly – renewal fees for EUTMs will come down. A conservative estimate is that overall the saving to industry from these reforms will be €25-35 million per year.
- There is a firm legal basis for more cooperation and convergence projects between the National and European Offices, the goal being to modernise and where possible harmonise their procedures.
- There is a new requirement that users of the European Office are consulted at all stages on these cooperation activities. As an official observer to the Office’s Management Board and active member of most of its work groups, this is again a change that AIM very much supports.
- Customs officers will once again have the power to detain counterfeit goods transiting via the EU in most circumstances, deterring counterfeiters from using Europe as their hub of choice and protecting consumers and brand owners alike.
If you would like more information, please contact your in-house trade mark department or AIM’s Trade Mark Committee via firstname.lastname@example.org