On the 24 December 2015 the Official Journal of the European Union published Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 which will bring significant changes to the current Community trade mark Regulation.
The Amending Regulation will enter into force on the 23rd March 2016 and the first important change regards the name of the Office, as from now on it will be called „European Union Intellectual Property Office- EUIPO“.
Furthermore, as the new regulation is adapted to the Lisbon Treaty, all the references to the Community will be substituted by references to the European Union or the Union. Accordingly, the term „Community trade mark“ will be replaced by „European Union trade mark“
The Amending Regulation will bring changes regarding the trade mark fees along with institutional and tehnical changes.
The most important changes regarding the fees will be:
– a new one-fee-per-class system for application and renewal fees (this means that applicants will pay a lower fee if they only apply for one class- 850 Euros for an electronic application and 1000 Euros for a paper application);
– an overall decrease in fees payable to the Office;
– the incorporation of the provisions of the Community trade mark Fees Regulation into the basic regulation.
The amendments of the prior regulation seek to streamline procedures and increase legal certainty along with defining all the Office’s tasks. It also introduces a legal framework for the existing cooperation between the Office and the offices of the Memebr States.
One of the institutional changes will also be the introduction of a European Parliament representative on the Management Board & Budget Committee for the first time.
With regard to the tehnical changes, some of them will come into force 90 days after the publication of the Amending regulation (on the 23.03.2016), while others will enetre into force 21 months after the publication.
The Regulation brings changes in thea areas of examination proceedings, absolute ground of refusal, relative grounds of refusal, goods and services, opposition and cancellation proceedings and appeals. Some of them will be:
– the elimination of the possibility of filing EU trade mark applications through national offices;
– functional signs (e.g colour or sound) will now be subject to the same prohibitions applied to shape marks;
– elimination of the possibility for users to add disclaimers in trade mark applications in order to overcome future absolute grounds of refusal;
– the Amending Regulation codifies the existing practice for trade marks filed after the judgement C-307/10 „IP Translator“;
– the elimination of interlocutory revision in inter parte cases, which will result in a shorter overall duration of appeal proceedings in these cases.
As for the changes that will come into force 21 months after the publication, they still have to be developed by secondary legislation, anyway the Office is committed to informing users about the impact of the modifications in advance of their entry into force.