PTO abolishes 'class heading covers all' approach


In a recent announcement on its website, the Serbian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has explained that it had made significant efforts in 2014 to harmonise its practice with the practices of other EU national IP offices, singling out the abolishment of the 'class heading covers all' approach as the most significant change. Amendments to the methodology for various proceedings before the Serbian PTO, including the aforementioned change, came into force on January 1 2015.

Pursuant to this change, national trademarks will not be registered under the 'class heading covers all' approach, but under the 'means what it says' approach, meaning that national trademark applicants listing class headings in their applications will have coverage only for those goods or services which unambiguously fall under the class headings; some of the general designations under these headings will have to be specified or will be refused protection.

The PTO has identified 11 general indications of goods/services (in Classes 6, 7, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 37, 40 and 45 of the Nice Classification) that are not considered to be sufficiently clear and precise:

  • Class 6: “goods of common metal not included in other classes”;
  • Class 7: “machines”;
  • Class 14: “goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes”;
  • Class 16: “paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes”;
  • Class 17: “rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials and not included in other classes”;
  • Class 18: “leather and imitations of leather, and goods made of these materials and not included in other classes”;
  • Class 20: “goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics”;
  • Class 37: “repair" and "installation services”;
  • Class 40: “treatment of materials”; and
  • Class 45: “personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals”.

Although the PTO’s announcement did not say anything in this respect, the new approach reportedly applies only to trademarks filed after January 1 2015.

Predrag Anokic, PETOŠEVIĆ, Belgrade

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