Boards of Appeal
'We are committed to providing effective dispute resolution, streamlined appeal processes and consistency of practice.'
Th. M. Margellos, President of the Boards
The Boards of Appeal are responsible for deciding on appeals against first instance decisions taken by EUIPO concerning European Union trade marks and registered Community designs. The decisions of the Boards are, in turn, liable to actions before the General Court, whose judgments are subject to a right to appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) on points of law. The Boards of Appeal are independent and, in deciding a case, are not bound by any instructions.
A Board of Appeal deciding on a case consists of three Members, including the Chairperson. Two of the Members must be legally qualified. However, specific cases may be decided on by the Grand Board or by a single Member.
The Grand Board consists of nine Members, comprising the President of the Boards of Appeal as Chairperson, the Chairpersons of the Boards and ordinary Members selected from a specific list to make up the total of nine Members. A Board may refer a case to the Grand Board if it believes that this is justified by its legal difficulty, importance or by special circumstances, for example, if the Boards of Appeal have issued diverging decisions on a point of law raised by that case. For the same reasons, the Presidium may refer a case to the Grand Board.
The Board to which the case is allocated may pass cases to a Single Member, legally qualified, where the decision closes the proceedings following an agreement between the parties, fixes the amount of costs, only concerns the admissibility of the appeal, or is related to an appeal against decisions of the examiner taken according to Article 7 of the European Union trade mark Regulation and the Board confirms that decision (see Decision 2014-3 of 26 May 2014 of the Presidium of the Boards Of Appeal).
The Boards of Appeal are governed by Commission Regulation (EC) No 216/96 of 5 February 1996, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 2082/2004, laying down the rules of procedure of the Boards of Appeal. The consolidated version of the Regulation applies to the administration of appeals under both Trade Mark and Design Regulations.
The Presidium is responsible for the rules and organisation of the Boards of Appeal, including the allocation of Members to the specific Boards and the specification of rules for the allocation of cases to the Boards. It is composed of the President of the Boards of Appeal, who chairs it, as well as the Chairpersons of the Boards and Members elected for each calendar year by all the Members of the Boards (excluding the President and the chairpersons of the Boards of Appeal).
This is decided on every year by the Presidium. The Boards of Appeal consist presently of four Boards exclusively dealing with trade mark cases and one that deals with design cases. Additionally, the Grand Board may hear any case with respect to trade marks and designs.
Members of the Boards of Appeal
The President of the Boards of Appeal is appointed by the Council of the European Union. The President has managerial and organisational powers and chairs the Presidium and the Grand Board of Appeal. The chairpersons of the Boards of Appeal are also appointed by the Council of the European Union. They have managerial and organisational responsibility for their respective Boards and are responsible for appointing the Rapporteur in each appeal case. The Members of the Boards of Appeal are appointed by the Management Board of the Office.