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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Apr 11, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 7/18)
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New Trademark Law Drafted

On January 12, 2018, the Romanian PTO published the first draft of the new trademark law, aimed at transposing the Directive (EU) 2015/2436 into national legislation. The most important changes are listed below.

Absolute Grounds for Refusal or Invalidity
The draft law extends the absolute grounds for trademark refusal or invalidity by adding the words “or another characteristic” to the relevant article in the law, meaning that now the restrictions apply not only to shape signs but to other types of signs as well. Namely, according to the draft law, signs can be refused if they consist exclusively of the shape, or another characteristic, which (i) results from the nature of the goods themselves, (ii) is necessary to obtain a technical result, or (iii) gives substantial value to the goods.

Earlier Rights
The draft law widens the scope of earlier rights to include traditional terms, guaranteed traditional specialties and plant variety rights, along with the already covered designations of origin and geographical indications.

Trademark Infringement
The draft law broadens the concept of trademark infringement by establishing additional uses of a similar or identical sign that may be prohibited by the trademark owner and are not specified in the current trademark law, namely:
- Use of a sign as a company name or as part of a company name (however, the draft law does not clarify, like Directive (EU) 2015/2436 does, that in order to be prohibited, such use has to be made for the purposes of distinguishing goods or services);
- Use of a sign in comparative advertising in a way contrary to the provisions of the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Act No. 158/2008; and
- Use of a sign on packaging, labels, tags, security or authenticity features or devices, and placing these on the market.

Further changes concern the goods in transit and the revocation and declaration of invalidity.

For more information, please see here