A number of changes to EU trade mark law will come into effect on 1 October 2017. In particular the requirement for trade marks to be represented graphically will be abolished and a new EU “certification mark” will be available, both of which open up new opportunities for applicants.
Previously it was a requirement for an EU TM application to contain a graphical representation of the mark applied for. This will no longer be the case after 1 October. Instead the mark can be represented in any appropriate form using generally available technologies. For example, motion and hologram marks can be represented by video files and sound marks by audio files. This should make it easier for applicants applying for “non-traditional” trade marks. The representation must still comply with the requirement that it can be produced in a clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective manner, and tactile, smell and taste marks will still not be accepted due to this requirement.
This kind of trade mark is now available at the EU level. Certification marks guarantee goods or services having specific characteristics and distinguish from goods that have not been so-certified. The characteristics may be any characteristic of the goods apart from geographical origin and regulations governing the use of the mark must be submitted no later than two months after filing. The regulations must provide information on the characteristics of the goods or services being certified, conditions governing the use of the mark, and how the certifying body will test the characteristics. Certification marks have long been available in many individual countries, but never before at the EU level.
Further information on these changes, as well as other, more procedural, changes can be found in our resources: Reforms to the European Union Trade Mark Law
Alternatively please contact a member of our Trade Mark team for further information.