Amendments to the EU Trade Mark Regulation on 23 March 2016 brought about substantial changes to the EU trade mark system. However, not all of the changes were implemented with immediate effect.
With the publication of Regulation No. 2017/1001 in the EU Official Journal on 16 June 2017, we are reminded that several significant reforms will enter into force on 1 October 2017.
Many will already be familiar with the changes in terminology that have been in place since March 2016, with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market becoming the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and the Community Trade Mark becoming the European Union Trade Mark (EUTM).
The “3 classes for the price of 1” system was also replaced by a fee-per-class system, and the new Regulation clarified the EU position regarding use of class headings.
The new Regulation limited the “own name” defence to trade mark infringement, which now applies only to the names of natural persons, and not to company names.
Another important amendment in March 2016 was the change to the opposition period for EU designations of International Registrations. Whereas previously the opposition period ran between 6 and 9 months after publication of the EU designation, it now runs between 1 and 4 months after publication.
Member States still have until 15 January 2019 to implement the new EU Trade Mark Directive into their national laws, and until 15 January 2023 to introduce administrative cancellation proceedings.