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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Jun 16, 2015 (Newsletter Issue 9/15)
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Agreement Concerning Trademark Reform Reached

On April 21, 2015, the European Parliament and European Council reached an agreement with the European Commission during an inter-institutional discussion on the trade mark reform package.

The new legal framework is aimed at encouraging innovation and economic growth by making trademark registration systems all over the European Union more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal certainty.

It will also improve cooperation between the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), which is responsible for registering and administering trade marks at European Union level, and the national offices.

Under the agreement, a number of political principles will be incorporated in the new system, including:
- a new structure with a reduced level of fees to be paid by applicants and proprietors of trademarks; such a reduction is justified by the need to render the system more accessible to users and to balance OHIM's budget, which has been producing considerable budgetary surpluses over the years;
- the setting up of an offsetting mechanism to cover expenses incurred by national industrial property offices resulting from the handling of procedures involving EU trade marks. 5% of the OHIM annual revenue is foreseen for the offsetting mechanism, with the possibility of increasing this amount by another 5% in case of a substantive budgetary surplus;
- 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 maximum amount of funding for cooperation projects is set at 15% of the yearly revenue of the OHIM;
- 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.

For more information, please access the EU Commission press release here and the EU Council press release here

Source: and