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New opportunities with the modernized EU trademark law

As of this month, some important provisions of the modernized European trademark law entered into force that provide new possibilities, such as the possibility to register sounds, smells, taste and movements.

The purpose of the reform package, originally implemented in 2016 as discussed before in this article, is to make the trade mark registration system all over the EU more accessible, efficient and to improve uniformity between the Union and national trademark systems. Member states have 3 years to implement the changes into national law which will take effect from 13 January 2019.

As of October 1, 2017, the following provisions entered into force:

Requirement for graphic display expires

In the amended Trade Mark Regulation the requirement to represent a mark “graphically” will no longer apply. This means that the application does not need to be represented by graphic means. This makes it possible to obtain registrations for non-traditional trademarks, such as sound, smell, taste and movements, more easily, provided that the sign can be defined in a precise and clear manner and the sign is distinctive for the goods and/or services for which the sign is registered. A sound or movement can for example be submitted as an Mp3 or Mp4 file, respectively.

Certification marks

At EU level the certification mark is a new type of trademark. The certification mark guarantees that products bearing the mark comply with the applicable certification requirements which are described in regulations governing use and are supervised under the responsibility of the holder of the certification mark. Certification marks may not be owned by the supplier of the goods and/or services, but by a body responsible for certifying and monitoring the quality and/or characteristics of the product. The trademark owner is not allowed to use the mark himself.

Other procedural changes

In addition to the above-mentioned provisions, there are some procedural changes relating to the claiming of priority, changes in opposition and cancellation actions, online support, languages ​​and translations, communication with the agency and the like. The procedural changes are listed on the EUIPO website.

If you have any questions relating to the above, please do not hesitate to contact one of our trademark attorneys.