Changes to EU trade mark law

Some important changes to the EU trade mark regulation came into force on 1st October 2017, including relaxing the requirements on "graphical representation" of marks and introducing an EU Certification Mark.

The key changes are:

  • The requirement that a trade mark musthave a "graphical representation" will no longer apply to EU trade mark applications, from 1st October. A trade mark can be represented in any form so long as it is clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective. The EUIPO has provided guidelines at as to the acceptable forms of representation.
  • It is now possible to obtain an EU Certification Mark; this is a trade mark that is "capable of distinguishing goods or services which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics; with the exception of geographical origin, from goods and services which are not so certified."
  • Applicants will be able to cite acquired distinctiveness as a subsidiary or alternative claim. This could prevent parties from incurring unnecessary costs if inherent distinctiveness is later held to exist.
  • Translation requirements have also been simplified and assignment of an EU trade mark can be sought as an alternative remedy to invalidation. All of the changes are detailed in the EUIPO Guidelines.