Czech Republic adopts new Trademark Act

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has adopted a new Trademark Act, which is set to come into force on April 1 2004. The new act will bring Czech trademark law in line with the Community Trademark Directive in time for the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union on May 1 2004.

Some of the more important aspects of the new act are the following:

  • Once the Czech Republic accedes to the European Union, all Community trademarks will automatically become valid in its territory.

  • Obstacles to registration in the previous Trademark Act have been removed allowing a more streamlined process of registration.

  • Applicants will be able to apply for trademark registrations for goods or services that do not form part of their business.

  • The scope of opposition actions has been broadened and clarified. An application for registration will be refused on absolute grounds if it is filed in bad faith. This objection can be raised (i) by any party whose rights have been infringed, and (ii) even before the mark has appeared on the Trademark Register.

  • In addition to the new form of opposition proceedings, (which take place after the publication of a trademark application), third parties will be able to raise issues for consideration at any time prior to the registration of a mark. The Trademark Office will be obliged to consider such observations and inform the relevant party of its decision. It should be noted that the party making these observations will not be considered as a party to the application proceedings.

  • The act widens the protection available to well-known marks. The use of marks that are well known in the Czech Republic may be prohibited if such use will take unfair advantage of or be detrimental to the distinctive character or reputation of an older mark that is famous in other areas of the European Union.

  • The Municipal Court of Prague will be the court of first instance for disputes involving Community trademarks in the Czech Republic.

Ales Vokalek, Patentservis Praha, Prague

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