Modernising trade mark legislation: MEPs strike deal with the Latvian presidency 

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Trade mark registration would be quicker and more efficient for businesses under draft rules informally agreed between MEPs and the Latvian presidency on Tuesday. The rules, aimed to foster economic growth by modernising trade mark registration and protection rules, would also help to fight against counterfeit goods in transit.

“I’m glad that after almost two years of hard work and tough negotiations we managed to reach a balanced approach on the trade mark legislation, which will be simple and flexible enough to provide businesses and entrepreneurs protection that meets their needs”, said Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), who is steering the legislation through Parliament.

“Today’s deal will ensure that the trade mark registration will be quicker, cheaper and smoother for businesses in future. The new protection rules will also ensure better protection of trade marks by taking into account new technologies and enable flexible solutions facilitating companies to expand and develop their businesses”, Wikström continued.

More efficient protection; cheaper and quicker registration

While preserving the dual system of national and EU trade mark, the updated trade mark legislation will further harmonise national and European trade mark application procedures and the rights guaranteed by a trade mark.

The registration would also be on average cheaper, especially for SMEs, as under the new “one-class-per-fee” provision, the EU-level trade mark could be registered for only one product class, instead of three classes. MEPs also managed to secure a significant reduction of renewal fees.

Combating counterfeit products

While ensuring that legitimate trade interests are not affected, the provisionally agreed rules will provide better means to fight against counterfeit goods in transit through the territory of the EU. Throughout the negotiations, MEPs stressed the need to ensure smooth transit of generic medicines to developing countries.

“European Union Intellectual Property Office”

The informally agreed text also introduces several improvements to the structure and governance of the EU office responsible for trade marks (OHIM), which will be called “European Union Intellectual Property Office”. MEPs managed to ensure that the Parliament would also have a seat in the management board of the office.

Next steps

The provisional deal, agreed by the negotiators on Tuesday, will still need to be endorsed by the Council and by the Legal Affairs Committee, before being put to a vote by the full house.

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