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February 9, 2016

New regulation for Community Trademarks – check your rights

The European Parliament has passed a new regulation on CTMs which will enter into force on 23 March 2016. The new regulation includes important changes which i.a. implies a reduction of the official fees; however, it also includes a specification concerning the scope of protection which requires attention.

If your CTM/European trademark (new name: EUTM) was filed before 22 June 2012 and the specification of your goods/services covers a class heading, you should consider if the wording actually covers the goods/services of interest to you. If these goods/services are not covered by the current wording, you should as soon as possible and preferably before 23 March 2016 apply for a further specification hereof. If a specification is not filed you risk weakening the protection against third parties’ use and registration of similar marks.

In the future, the EU trademark office (EUIPO) will interpret the wording less inclusively: Only those goods/services covered by the exact wording will be covered by the EUTM (hence the registration no longer covers all goods/services in the specific class).

In general, we recommend that you take this opportunity to evaluate whether your European trademarks provide the best possible protection. If the mark as you use it has changed since you had it registered, the protection may no longer be sufficient; or, possibly, the user requirement is not met. Also the EUIPO has changed its practice regarding the scope of protection for marks registered in black/white to a rather narrow interpretation. This may also be of importance to you.

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