The times they are a-changin'

Trade Marks and the EU Is it Time for Change? The European Commission Certainly Thinks so

Author: Gemma Kirkland

Since the introduction of the Community Trade Mark (CTM) nearly 2 decades ago, the law and practice governing CTMs and the harmonisation of national laws has been fairly static. Following the recent study undertaken by the Max Planck Institute, this may all be about to change. In its press release of 27 March 2013, the European Commission set out its proposals for reform of the CTM system, arguing that change is essential because the current system is outdated, the legislation (eg, the Trade Mark Directive (Directive) and the Community Trade Mark Regulation (CTMR)) is inconsistent, harmonisation between member-states has not been fully achieved and because the business environment within the EU has substantially changed since 1996 and the current system no longer reflects the business environment which it seeks to protect.

The Commissions’ proposals suggest a revision of both the Directive and the CTMR as well as a revision of the Commission Regulation on fees payable to OHIM. The Commission hopes to enhance and streamline procedures, facilitate cooperation between member-states, assist the fight against counterfeit goods and modernise the fee structure to better meet the requirements of those customers using the CTM system.