Amendment to Law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications approved

On July 8 2009 the Romanian government approved the bill amending the Law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications. The purpose of the bill is to incorporate the relevant EU IP provisions into the national legislation.

The bill introduces important changes to:

  • the terminology used in the law; and 
  • the national registration procedure.
The bill also establishes a legal framework for the prosecution of Community trademarks (CTMs).

In addition, the bill expands the types of signs that can be registered as trademarks by introducing the categories of 'holograms' and 'sound marks'.

The bill also sets forth the grounds on which a CTM application may be rejected. For example, an application will be rejected if:
  • the CTM applied for is identical or similar to an earlier CTM, even if the goods and/or services covered by the marks are different; and
  • the earlier CTM has a reputation in the European Union and use of the later CTM by the applicant would take unfair advantage of the distinctive character or reputation of the earlier CTM.
One of the most important changes introduced by the bill is that the Patent and Trademark Office will examine applications based only on absolute grounds.

The bill also stipulates that applications must be published in an online database no later than seven days following the filing date of the application. Any interested party may submit observations based on absolute grounds or file an opposition based on relative grounds no later than two months following the publication date.

Under the bill, applications for CTMs must be forwarded to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market no later than two weeks following the filing date with the Romanian Patent and Trademark Office.

The bill also explicitly states that the Bucharest Tribunal has jurisdiction over cases involving CTMs.

The bill is now due to follow the parliamentary procedure.

Roxana Sârghi, Petoševic, Bucharest

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