Second part of the EU trade mark law reform
On October 1st 2017, the second part of the EU trade mark reform will come into effect. This completes the reorganization of trade mark law at the EU level, the first part of which became effective in March 2016.
The EU trade mark system now offers as its most important new feature the possibility to register a certification mark. Unlike “normal” trade marks, the certification mark does not guarantee that a product comes from a specific manufacturer but it ensures compliance with defined quality standards. A certification mark can thus be used by different manufacturers. Neutrality of the trade mark owner and equal access for all manufactures to use the trade mark are necessary in order to make this system work. Therefore, only associations may register such marks and must lay down in a statute which standards have to be met in order for a manufacturer to obtain the right to use the certification mark.
Furthermore, applicants of innovative types of trade marks may be pleased, that the requirement of graphic representation of a trade mark has been cancelled. This is of particular importance for sound marks, which apart from musical notation so far could only be provisionally visualized by means of a sonogram.
The other changes deriving from the reform relate to procedural matters. The communication between EUIPO and the trade mark owner (and applicant) is supposed to be simplified and modernized. For example, the EUIPO does no longer accept requests for registration or renewal of EU trade marks transmitted by fax, but exclusively online (or by letter post). For proof of trade mark registrations at other offices, applicants may also refer to their respective online database instead of producing excerpts from the register and submitting them to EUIPO.
Further information on the topic are available on the website of EUIPO.