Non Legislative, European Commission, Business
On 27 March the European Commission will adopt proposals to revise the existing EU legislation on trade marks. In order to improve conditions for business to innovate, the Commission considers that it is time for a review of the trade mark system in Europe, and for further improvement of cooperation between the EU Trade Marks and Designs Agency and national industrial property offices.
National trade mark registration in the EU Member States has been harmonised for 20 years and the unitary Community trade mark was created more than 15 years ago. Since then, almost 1 million Community trademarks have been registered, compared to the 9 million "national" trade marks currently registered at Member States' industrial property offices since the beginning of trademark registrations there, demonstrating the popularity of the Community trade mark. Community trademarks now represent around a quarter of all trade marks filed in the EU each year: in 2011, there were 105 000 applications for Community trade marks, against 435 000 applications for national trademarks.
The system is therefore popular and important for the European economy, which relies on powerful brands, requiring strong and effective trade mark protection. In 2009, the Commission launched a comprehensive study on the overall functioning of the trade mark system in Europe, and in 2010, in its Communication on Europe 2020, undertook to modernise trade mark rules in order to have more effective and efficient trade mark protection. Finally, in its 2011 IPR strategy for Europe, the Commission announced a review of the trade mark system in Europe with a view to modernising the system, both at EU and at national level, by making it more effective, efficient and consistent overall (see IP/11/630).
The main objective of the review is to foster innovation and economic growth by making trade mark systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses: lowering costs and complexity, and increasing speed and legal security (mainly by streamlining and harmonising national registration procedures, taking the Community system as benchmark).
11.30 Press conference by Commissioner Barnier, preceded by a technical briefing off-the-record at 11.00 (Berlaymont press room in Brussels).
IP and MEMO will be available on the day.