Europe’s brave new trademark regime and how it will affect rights holders

By Verena von Bomhard

The EU trademark law reform process was finally concluded at the end of 2015, with many of the changes that will affect Community trademarks due to come into force on March 23 2016. But what will the new regime mean for rights holders?

After five years of wrangling, the EU trademark law reform process was concluded on December 24 2015 with the publication of the new EU Trademark Directive (2015/2436) and the final amendments to the EU Trademark Regulation (2015/2424). The new law introduces changes to nomenclature, fees, proceedings and substantive law affecting both Community and national trademarks. Most of the changes affecting Community trademarks are due to come into force on March 23 2016. A number of the new provisions – typically those that require secondary legislation, including the abolition of the requirement for graphic representation of trademarks and the introduction of EU certification marks – will not come into force until October 1 2017. The recast directive that deals with national trademark systems will need to be transposed into the national laws of member states by January 2019 (or 2023 for administrative cancellation proceedings). Member states are free to transpose the directive more quickly than that and it is hoped that many will do so.

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Issue 72