An amendment to the Trademark Act came into force on 1 January 2019 following protracted efforts by the EU to unify and streamline the system of trademarks across the EU.
Abandoning the requirement for graphic representation is the most frequently cited change, enabling the possibility to register so-called “non-traditional trademarks” in this context. Previously, if the trademark did not represent a visual image, it could not be registered. Now sounds, tastes, movements, 3D imagery, holographs and other trademarks can be registered without any problems, as long as they are capable of reproduction with available technological means (usually in mp3, mp4 or jpeg formats) to allow the subject matter of the provided protection to be clearly and precisely determined.
However, even after registering a trademark, owners should not rest on their laurels unless they want to risk losing the trademark protection rights.
- Revoking threat
If the trademark owner has not begun to use the trademark duly within five years of its registration, the trademark may be revoked based on a proposal. In addition, if the trademark has not been actively used, it cannot be successfully applied in trademark objection proceedings or in proceedings for invalidation of the trademark. However, active use does not require direct use by the owner; use by a third party with the owner’s approval suffices.
- We recommend regular monitoring
The trademark owner should keep track of new trademarks applying for registration in areas relevant to it. The Industrial Property Office ex officio stopped automatically rejecting trademark applications that are identical to the formerly registered trademark. It is now the owner’s right – or rather its duty – to monitor the market situation. If the owner does not agree with the registration of the trademark, it must file an objection in a timely manner; otherwise the Industrial Property Office will register the new trademark.
In addition, the amendment eliminates the differences between national and EU trademarks and substantially amends some previously well-established procedures.
If you already have a trademark, are planning to register one, or are concerned you may be violating a trademark, we recommend that you thoroughly review the current terms and possibly contact us for further information. We will be more than happy to assist you.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice on any subject matter.