25 February 2016

All Change at the Community Trade Marks Office?

On 23 March 2016 the Community Trade Mark (CTM) will cease to exist; it will however be replaced immediately by the European Union Trade Mark (EUTM).  At the same time, the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) will be renamed as the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).  Any pending CTM Applications will become European Union Trade Mark Applications and existing Community Trade Mark Registrations will become European Union Trade Mark Registrations.

This name change, whilst more clearly describing the trade mark right, is perhaps cosmetic.  Of more importance is the revision to the fee structure for filing a European Union Trade Mark Application.

Whereas prior to 23 March 2016 up to three classes of goods and services could be included in a CTM Application, the change in fee structure means a small reduction in cost for the filing of an application in one class with official fees being payable for the second and third classes in an application.

Of more note for the owners of existing CTMs or European Union Trade Marks is that the renewal fees will also change.  It would therefore be sensible for right holders to review their trade marks before renewal to check whether they actually need all of the three classes that may have been included in a trade mark registration on filing in order to ensure that registrations are renewed only for classes which are needed.

Interestingly, it appears that the changes to the Community Trade Mark through the introduction of Regulation (EU) No. 2015/2424 will not result in any change to the fee structure for International Registrations designating the European Union.  Whether a change will be made in the future remains to be seen.

As always if you have any questions concerning the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the European Union Trade Mark, please do get in touch with us for more information or advice.