MARCH 27, 2013 | TRADEMARKS: COMMISSION PROPOSES EASIER ACCESS AND MORE EFFECTIVE PROTECTION
The European Commission has presented a package of initiatives on March 27, 2013 to make trade mark registration systems all over the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable. The proposed reform would improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU's territory.
As regards fees, the Commission is proposing a principle of "one-class-per-fee" that will apply both for Community trade mark applications and for national trade mark applications. This will enable any business – particularly SMEs – to apply for trade mark protection according to their actual business needs, at a cost that covers those individual needs only. Under the current system, the fee for registering a trade mark allows for the registration of up to three product classes. Under the revised system, a trade mark can be registered for only one product class. So at EU level, businesses will pay substantially less when they seek to obtain protection for one class of product only.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "Trade marks were the EU’s first success in intellectual property rights. The harmonization of Member States' laws in 1989 and the creation of the Community trade mark in 1994 paved the way for other tools for intellectual property protection, such as design protection and the unitary patent. Today, 20 years later, I am very proud to announce that our trade mark system has stood the test of time. There is no need for a major overhaul: the foundations of our system remain perfectly valid. What we are aiming for is a well-targeted modernization to make trade mark protection easier, cheaper, and more effective."
In order to foster innovation and growth by making trade mark systems in Europe more accessible and efficient for businesses, the proposed revision would:
- Streamline and harmonize registration procedures, including at Member State level, taking the Community trade mark system as a benchmark;
- Modernize the existing provisions and increase legal certainty by amending outdated provisions, removing ambiguities, clarifying trade mark rights in terms of their scope and limitations and incorporating extensive case law of the Court of Justice;
- Improve the means to fight against counterfeit goods in transit through the EU’s territory; and
- Facilitate cooperation between the Member States’ offices and the EU trade mark agency – the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) - in order to promote convergence of their practices and the development of common tools.
FEBRUARY 19, 2013 | MEXICO JOINS THE INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK SYSTEM
The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks will enter into force, with respect to the United Mexican States, on February 19, 2013, bringing the total number of members of the international trademark system to 89.
As of now, within all member jurisdictions of the WIPO-administered Madrid system Mexico can be designated in the course of an international trademark registration. Also, a designation of Mexico subsequent to an international registration is possible.
In addition, Mexico established its individual fees as an individual Application fee of CHF 193,- for each class of goods or services and a Renewal fee of CHF 204,- for each class of goods or services.
As a matter of course, the possibility of national trademark application in Mexico remains unchanged. In such, a shorter handling time by the Mexican Patent- and Trademark Office is expected.
Mexican national trademark law does not provide an opposition procedure at the moment.
Please contact us for more information.