Community Trademark Regulation may be overhauled

European Union

The European Commission has proposed several changes to the Community Trademark Regulation.

By amending Articles 130 and 131, the commission intends to improve the procedures for appointing the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market Board of Appeals. Most significantly, the amendments would make it possible for an enlarged board to decide cases involving issues which have never been addressed. This should guarantee the consistency of board decisions.

Changes to Article 89 would enable professional representatives who have transferred their place of residence or principal place of business from one EU member state to another to continue representing clients before the central industrial property body of their original home state.

Amendments to Article 5 would facilitate access to the Community trademark system. Any natural or legal person would be able to apply to register a Community mark, regardless of whether that person's home country is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or the World Trade Organization.

Other proposed changes relate mainly to procedural matters, including dispensing with the prior rights searching system outlined in Article 39 (see European Commission plans to scrap national searches).

The proposal is subject to unanimous approval by the European Council of Ministers following consultation of the European Parliament.

Chris McLeod, McDermott Will & Emery, London

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