Provisional political agreement reached on Reforms to European Trade Mark System

May 06, 2015

European trade mark reform is an issue that has been the subject of discussions for a number of years. On 21 April 2015, the European Commission announced that the three key institutions of the EU (the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council) have reached a provisional agreement on a European trade mark reform package. The reform package will involve: (i) a recast of the current trade mark Directive, which harmonises various aspects of national trade mark law at a member state level (the "Recast Directive"); and (ii) a revision of the current Regulation, which sets out the law relating to Community Trade Marks (the "Revised Regulation").

The stated aims of the reform package are: 

  • to foster innovation and economic growth – this is achieved by making trade mark registration systems across the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses through lower costs, increased speed and more predictability across different member states; and
  • to ensure the coexistence and complementarity between the trade mark systems across the EU – this aim is achieved by introducing greater cooperation between the central EU trade mark agency and national trade mark offices, with the purposes of converging office practices.

To achieve its aims, the Recast Directive and Revised Regulation provide for reforms in various areas, of which this article focuses on three: (i) procedural changes to Community Trade Marks and national marks; (ii) substantive changes to the law governing both Community Trade Marks and national trade marks; and (iii) anti-piracy measures. The key aspects of these reforms are discussed below.

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