Changes to Trade Mark Protection in the European Union
Posted by Pete

 

OHIM is going to be re-named as the European Union Intellectual Property Office

 

330px-OHIM_logo.svg

 

Since 1996 it has been possible to register a single trade mark that is valid across the entire EU.  The “Community Trade Mark” is administered by the “Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market” – OHIM – based in Alicante, Spain.

 

The scheme has been very popular and according to OHIM registers more than 100 000 Community trade marks every year.

 

Trade mark law, in common with other intellectual property laws is fast-moving, and some major changes will come into effect from 23 March 2016.  In the words of OHIM, “The Amending Regulation acknowledges the success of the current system and confirms that its main principles have stood the test of time. Additionally, it seeks to build on this success by modernising and adapting its provisions to the internet era.”

 

There will be various changes including amendments to the fee structures and practice regarding classifications of goods and services. However, one of the major changes will be the adoption of new names for OHIM and the CTM.  From 23 March 2016, OHIM will be known as European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community trade mark will be called the European Union trade mark.

 

Be Aware of Unsolicited Communications!

 

One unfortunate reality of the IP registration system is the emergence of companies who send unsolicited mail to registrants offering services which are of questionable value and include requests for payment which look like official invoices.  The existing OHIM emblem will be retained once the Office changes its name to the EUIPO; but the change of name means there is an additional risk of confusion that could be taken advantage of by these unscrupulous parties.

 

The Office itself has issued this warning:

 

“In the run up to the change of name of the Office, we ask our users to be especially vigilant if they receive unsolicited mail requesting payment for trade mark and design services. Please remember that we never send users invoices or letters requesting direct payment for services. However, some of our users report receiving invoices that contain logos and/or names which are very similar to the Office’s current logo and/or name – or, in some cases, which are similar to the new name of the Office. You can find samples of misleading invoices sent to us by our users. If you have any doubts about anything that you receive, please contact us at information@oami.europa.eu.”

 

So, our message is to be vigilant and not fall for any of these scams!
Of course there are many important aspects which are changing, which are beyond the scope of this post.  However, if you need any advice on trade mark protection in Europe please do get in touch via this form or by mailing mail@scintilla-ip.com

 

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