ICC Comments on the European Commission Proposals for Reform of the EU Trademark System
On 27 March 2013, the European Commission presented a package of initiatives to make trade mark registrations systems in the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable.
The proposed reform would improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU’s territory.
The proposed package contains three initiatives:
- Recast of the 1989 Directive (now codified as 2008/95/EC) approximating the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks;
- Revision of the 1994 Regulation (now codified as 207/2009/EC) on the Community trade mark; and
- Revision of the 1995 Commission Regulation (2869/95) on the fees payable to OHIM
The recast of the Directive and revision of the Community Trade Mark Regulation are legislative proposals to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union under the co-decision procedure (now called Ordinary Legislative Procedure). The adoption procedure is expected for 2014.
The proposed revision of the Fees Regulation will be adopted by the Commission as an implementing act and therefore requires prior endorsement by the competent Committee on OHIM fees. The first meeting of the Committee will take place before the summer 2013 with the aim of adopting the amended Fees Regulation before the end of the current year. These initiatives came two years after the Max Planck Institute published its Study on the Overall Functioning of the European Trade Mark System, in February 2011. The purpose of this Study was to provide the Commission with an in-depth assessment of the overall functioning of the trade mark system in Europe as a whole including both at the Community and at the national level. The aim was to analyse current performances and to identify potential areas for improvement, streamlining and future development of this overall system to the benefit of users and the society as a whole.
Now with the proposed package the main common objective of the proposal for the amendment of the Regulation and of the parallel proposal for recast of the Directive is to foster innovation and economic growth by making trade mark registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal security. These adjustments dovetail with efforts to ensure coexistence and complementarity between the Union and national trade mark systems.