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Community Trademark

The Community Trademark Application is processed in the Interior Market Harmonising Office located in Alicante (SPAIN) or in any given Office of Patents and Trademarks of Member Countries, and does not require the existence of a base trademark in the country of origin and capable of being applied for by any physical or juridical person established in the Member States or in those countries that form part of Union Convention of Paris. The Community Trademark grants the protection in the following countries:

UE
Germany Austria France Italy Spain Portugal Greece United Kingdom Ireland Denmark Netherlands Belgium Luxembourg Sweden Finland Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Malta Poland Slovak Republic Slovenia Bulgaria and Romania.

The Community trademarks are granted for a period of 10 years, renewable indefinitely for equal periods and are granted for all Member States, allowing for the same rights as the national trademark in each country and at a very reasonable, proportional cost.

Guidelines concerning proceedings before the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs)

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1) OBJECTIVE OF THE GUIDELINES

The purpose of these Guidelines is to indicate the practice of the Office with regard to the Regulation on the Community trade mark. They have been drafted with a view to practical use both by the Office personnel in charge of the various procedures and the professionals concerned therewith.
 

They have been drawn up to cover the majority of current cases, and consequently can be regarded only as general instructions. These Guidelines are not, therefore, legislative texts. The parties, and the Office, must where necessary refer to Regulation No 40/94 on the Community trade mark, the Regulation implementing that Regulation, the Regulation on fees and the Regulation for proceedings before the Boards of Appeal and, finally, the interpretation of these texts handed down by the Boards of Appeal and the Court of Justice of the European Communities, including the Court of First Instance of the European Communities.
 
Moreover, the Office and practitioners must accept the idea that a natural learning period is needed for these procedures to be established. These Guidelines cannot, therefore, be exhaustive as of now and will unquestionably have to evolve and be adapted in accordance with practice and with the new requirements that arise from the experience gained.
 

 2) SUBJECT MATTER OF THE PROCEEDINGS

Council Regulation No 40/94 of 20 December 1993 has established, in parallel with the national systems, a Community trade mark system intended to eliminate one of the main obstacles to the development of the single European market.
 

Up to that time the law governing the registration and use of trade marks was exclusively national and made it difficult for the same trade mark to be used throughout the European Community.
 

In future, these marks will be able to enjoy uniform protection, have effect throughout the Community and be governed by a single Community law which is directly applicable in all the Member States.
 

The OHIM: Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs), established in Alicante, is therefore responsible for granting official Community industrial property rights. To this end, it applies the registration procedures, maintains the public registers of these rights and, primarily, rules on applications for declaration of invalidity of these rights after their registration.
 

In order to perform these tasks, the Office has units which are competent to make individual decisions, specifically: examiners, responsible for the examination of the application up to registration of the Community trade mark; opposition divisions, responsible for opposition proceedings against applications for registration; invalidity divisions, responsible for handling applications for revocation or invalidity of a Community trade mark; and a division responsible for the administration of trade marks and legal matters.
 

 3) SUMMARY OF THE PROCEDURE FOR EXAMINATION OF AN APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF A COMMUNITY TRADE MARK

The registration procedure as such relates to the examination of applications from the standpoint of formalities and absolute grounds for refusal of registration.
 

Schematically, this procedure for the examination of an application for registration can be summarized as comprising the following seven stages:
 

  • Filing of the application,

  • Preliminary examination and according a date of filing,

  • Examination of the other formalities (fees, classification, priority, seniority, etc.),

  • Search for earlier trade marks,

  • Examination of absolute grounds for refusal,

  • Publication of the application,

  • Granting of the right and registration in the Register of Community Trade Marks.


4) SUMMARY OF THE OPPOSITION PROCEDURE

The opposition procedure, which can be initiated only by a party who is the proprietor of an earlier trade mark, relates to the examination of the relative grounds for refusal of registration.
 

Schematically, it comprises 5 stages:
 

  • Filing of the notice of opposition,

  • Examination of the admissibility of the notice of opposition,

  • Notification of the opposition to the applicant and opening of proceedings,

  • Examination of the case, hearing evidence from both parties as to the relative grounds for refusal,

  • Decision.


5) SUMMARY OF THE PROCEDURE FOR APPLICATIONS FOR REVOCATION OR INVALIDITY

The revocation or invalidity procedure, which can be initiated only by a party basing his case on absolute grounds, or on relative grounds for invalidity, is effective only against a registered Community trade mark.
 

In summary, this procedure comprises the following 5 stages:
 

  • Filing of the application,

  • Examination of the admissibility of the application for revocation or invalidity,

  • Notification of the proprietor of the Community trade mark and invitation to file observations (as often as necessary),

  • Examination of the case, hearing evidence from both parties as to the absolute or relative grounds for refusal,

  • Decision.


6) SUMMARY OF OTHER PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE OFFICE

These proceedings relate either to applications for registration or to registered trade marks.


 

 

 
     

Copyright KAPLER,S.L. 2009