European Trade Mark Reforms - Cost Savings for Applicants

April 2015

After two years of inter-institutional discussions, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council have reached provisional political agreement on a European trade mark reform package. 

It is expected that the proposals relating to amendment to trade marks laws of the member states, and to the Community Trade Mark Regulation, will enable national offices and OHIM to cooperate together,  and make the CTM system more accessible to SMEs.

The agreed measures aim to make trade mark registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses bringing lower costs, increased speed, more predictability and greater legal certainty. The reforms aim to improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including non-authentic goods in transit through the EU.

The European Commission herald the cornerstones of the trade mark reform as: 

  • A fee structure where a separate "class" fee is paid for each additional product class applied for beyond the first and not the third; the new system will be tailor-made and benefit SMEs who will no longer be obliged to pay for classes of goods and services they do not need; 
  • A proportionate decrease of the application fee and, in particular, of the renewal fees.  For example, an applicant filing in 1 class, will pay an application fee of E850 and a renewal fee of E850; a reduction of E550 from the current fees of E900 and E1350 respectively;
  • Streamlined, more efficient and harmonised registration procedures across trade mark offices in the EU. Faster and less burdensome procedures will be a great improvement for growing companies, particularly SMEs, which roll out their business beyond one Member State and seek trade mark protection before multiple national offices;
  • Strengthened means to fight against counterfeits in particular of goods in transit through the EU’s territory. This will prevent abuse of the EU as 
    a distribution hub for illegal fake goods to world-wide destinations;
  • Modernised rules and increased legal certainty by adapting trade mark rules to the modern business environment and clarifying trade mark rights and their limitations.

The next stage will be for the package of reforms to be formally confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council, which is expected in the coming weeks.  Read more about the reforms here.

For more information please contact our Trade Marks Team.