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28 June 2010

European politicians are alive to the business of trademarks

While the Community trademark (CTM) system has long been a contentious topic, it is now baking in the heat of political point-scoring by trademark owners, national offices and Eurocrats alike. Germany's Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP, chair of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee, last week outlined his belief that use in one member state constitutes genuine use and that, although the study into the future of the trademark system is still underway, Parliament would make sure that reform will not weaken the system.

21 June 2010

WTR briefed by researchers on EU trademark study

Who would have thought that trademark owners are a diverse bunch with divergent opinions? That is one of the more fascinating trends emerging from the study into the European trademark system. So it was pleasing to hear the researchers from the Max Planck Institute who are conducting the study acknowledge this when I met two of them earlier today. Roland Knaak, head of the research team, told me: "It is interesting for us to see the divergent opinions and positions of some of the user associations. Many have quite different opinions, for example, on the question of how further harmonization should be achieved."

14 June 2010

Users cannot provide a united front against European challenges

"The books are open again," I was recently told by Alexander von Mühlendahl, co-founder of the CTM system, referring to the comprehensiveness of the study into the European trademark system. The sheer scope of the study means that the Max Planck researchers are collecting diverse opinions on issues such as genuine use - even from users, the one group you'd think would have a united stance.

08 June 2010

You have 10 minutes to outline your thoughts on the European trademark system

Now the ash cloud has dispersed, trademark owners will today meet the Max Planck Institute researchers conducting the study into the functionality of the European trademark system. Unfortunately, each user association will only have 10 minutes to detail their concerns.

14 May 2010

Europe's anti-counterfeiting team between a rock and a hard place

The European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy is to hold its first events at the European Parliament from June 21 - 25. The week will include exhibitions, information sessions, short films and ceremonies to raise the profile of the observatory and awareness of the issues surrounding counterfeiting and piracy. These are commendable activities, so why does a question mark hang over the location of the observatory?

11 May 2010

Mark owners feel ignored, but will the European Commission listen?

European trademark owners are on the warpath. They are already unconvinced that the study into the EU trademark system is listening to their opinions, and now there is dismay that the European Council is trying to force the OHIM to commence anti-counterfeiting work and the 50% split of CTM renewal fees with national offices. So they are going right to the top: user association MARQUES today meets with the European Commission to try and explain why now is not the time to start work on these areas.

22 April 2010

EU study grinds to a halt, stranding CTM users

The latest victim of Eyjafjallajoekull is the study into the EU trademark system. Today was supposed to be CTM owners' chance to participate in the ongoing study into the EU trademark system, with no fewer than 15 user associations invited to Munich to meet the researchers from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) and provide further input. But now the meeting has been cancelled, users are concerned that their voices may not be heard.

13 April 2010

OHIM's perplexing management strikes again, denies Council a voice over president

The race for the new president of the OHIM seems all but over. Yesterday's surprise announcement means Antonio Campinos has won so much support from OHIM's Administrative Board that only his name will be forwarded for consideration by the European Council. OHIM's rules have created a potentially sticky situation as they have led to the board giving the Council no choice: it must appoint Campinos or no one.

12 April 2010

European mark owners' tough stance on "non-transparent" national offices

As discussions over the names of those who may succeed Wubbo de Boer as president of the OHIM re-open this week, European mark owners are becoming ever louder in their request for national offices to clear up their act.