Articles

COMMUNITY TRADEMARKS

A Community trademark is a trademark which allows through a single application to obtain protection in the whole territory of the European Union. It confers on its proprietor a right valid in all Member States of the European Union. The Community trademark is obtained through the registration at the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante.

A Community trademark may consist of any sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises, such as:

 

  • Words (including personal names)
  • Designs
  • Letters
  • Numerals
  • The shape of goods or of their packaging

 

Requirements for a Community trademark to be registrable:

 

  • Graphic representation
  • Distinctive character
  • Novelty
  • Lawfulness

 

Ownership of the Community trademark:

 

  • Individual persons
  • Juridical persons, including public bodies

 

Classification of goods and services:

 

  • An internationally recognized classification of goods and services has been established according to the Nice Agreement. The classes of goods and services, which are intended to be protected by the registration, must be indicated in each trademark application. Each application may include multiple classes of goods and/or services.

 

Examination of the application:

 

  • A Community trademark enjoys full protection only after its actual registration. After filing the registration application, the trademark is subject to an examination based on the requirements of distinctiveness, descriptiveness, lawfulness and lack of deceptiveness.

 

Duration and Renewal:

 

  • A Community trademark registration has a duration of 10 years from the filing date.
  • A trademark is the only intellectual property title to be potentially meant for life, since it can be indefinitely renewed for subsequent 10-year periods.


Priority:

 

  • In accordance with the Paris Convention, upon filing a community trademark application it is possible to claim the priority of an earlier national filing, within 6 months. If the trademark will be registered, its protection will start from the filing date of the national trademark.

 

Pre-existence:

 

  • It is possible to claim the pre-existence of one or more national trademarks either simultaneously with the filing of the community trademark application or within 2 months from the filing date.

 

Publication in the OHIM Official Bulletin:

 

  • After the examination for application’s acceptability, the trademark will be published in the Community Trademark Bulletin. The publication has public law relevance, in fact within 3 months from the publication date, third parties who own rights to a prior trademark may file an opposition against the grant of the community trademark.

 

Registration:

 

  • If the application is not denied or opposed by third parties, or if such opposition is rejected with a final decision, the Community trademark registration is granted.

 

Rights conferred by the Community trademark:

 

  • The Community trademark  confers on its proprietor an exclusive right on the trademark in the whole territory of the European Union.

 

Use of the Community trademark and reasons of lapse:

 

  • If the Community trademark has not been used within 5 years from the registration, or if its use has been suspended for a continuous period of 5 years, within the European Union, it may be subject to revocation, upon application filed by third parties.