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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Okt 10, 2013
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Introduction of New Provincial Administrative Courts

The introduction of new provincial administrative courts in Austria will change administrative provisions in several IP statutes that will become effective on January 1, 2014.

The amended Trademark Act contains important changes, one of which concerns the concentration of all trademark disputes with the Vienna Commercial Court. At the present, the court has exclusive jurisdiction for patent disputes, as well as disputes regarding utility models, solid-state contractors and designs. In the future, this exclusive competence will also include trademark disputes. The Trademark Act also concentrates criminal proceedings - to be initiated at the request of trademark holder only - with the Vienna Regional Criminal Court.

The amended Trademark Act also changes the rules for opposition proceedings. In future, the holder of a more recent trademark must argue non-use of the older trademark no later than the first response to the opposition. If the holder of the younger mark does not respond within the prescribed time limit to the opposition, the younger trademark will automatically be cancelled in whole or in part as applied for, even if the opposition is based on a trademark application only which has not yet proceeded to registration at the time at which the opposition is decided on.

In addition, in the future it will no longer be possible to raise opposition against trademarks that are registered in Austria due to the conversion of Community trademarks or international trademarks (with regard to the latter, where the declaration as to the grant of protection has already been transmitted and the period to deny protection has already expired).

Finally, two objection periods will be shortened under the new law. The objection period to oppose an application for registration of a name as a geographical indication will be shortened from four to three months. The objection period to oppose an application pursuant to Regulations (EU) 1151/2012 on Quality Schemes for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs will be shortened from three to two months.

Source: Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH, Austria