“A Christmas Present for Trade Mark Owners: EU Trade Mark Reform package to be published on Christmas Eve

December 2015

On the 16th December, the European Parliament approved the new EU Trade Mark Reform Package. The reform package will bring into force various changes to the European Trade Mark Directive, which will have impact on EU national trade mark laws as well, and various changes will be made to the Community Trade Mark Regulation.

For the reform package to actually come into force legally, the changes have to be published in the so-called Official Journal of the European Union and this was not expected to occur until the early part of 2016. Well, it has been announced that publication of the package will be published in the Official Journal on 24th December, Christmas Eve, and thus a present to all trade mark owners and their representatives and advisors.

The legislation (Directive on the laws of Member States relating to trademarks and the Regulation on the EU trade mark) will enter into force twenty days after publication for the Directive and ninety days after publication for the Regulation.  So the Directive will be in force by the later part of January 2016 and the Regulation, which impacts the Community Trade Mark system directly, by the later part of March 2016. The twenty eight member states of the EU will then have three years to transpose the changes from the European Trade Mark Directive into their national trade mark laws.

The goal of the reforms is to allow better protection for rights holders through a strengthening of both the national and European trade mark systems.  This includes more efficient and cheaper trade mark registration (the removal of the three class fee structure for example and a fall in renewal fees), better means to fight against counterfeit goods in transit through EU territory and improvements to the structure and governance of the EU office responsible for trade marks (OHIM), which will be called “European Union Intellectual Property Office” (EUIPO).

This update was prepared by Lee Curtis, Partner in our Manchester office.

If you would like further advice on this or any other matter please contact Lee or your usual HGF representative or visit our Contact page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.