Boards of Appeal
'We are committed to working towards consolidating the role of the Boards of Appeal as a high quality, effective, coherent, and modern Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution Body.'
João Negrão, President of the Boards of Appeal.
The Boards of Appeal are responsible for deciding on appeals against first instance decisions taken by the 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, inter alia, where the decision closes the proceedings following a withdrawal, rejection, surrender or cancellation of the contested or the earlier mark, 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 Article 36 EUTMDR) .
The Boards of Appeal are governed by the EUTMDR. It applies to the administration of appeals under both Trade Mark and Design Regulations.
Rules of Procedure
The Rules of Procedure are a comprehensive set of procedural rules applicable to all appeal proceedings before the Boards of Appeal, both concerning EU trade marks and Registered Community Designs.
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.
Boards of Appeal Action Plan 2021-2026
Delivering a high-quality trade mark and design service to businesses seeking protection for the results of their investments in innovation is essential and something that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) aspires to. In this respect, by providing an independent, effective, and professional means of dispute resolution, the Boards of Appeal (BoA) play a key role within the IP system.
In this context, the BoA Action Plan 2021-2026 is an internal roadmap, establishing the direction the Boards will take in the next years, how they will tackle their challenges ahead and above all how they will contribute to the SP2025. In that sense, the Plan aims to further develop the BoA’s operations by presenting a series of initiatives to be launched in the next 5 years towards the implementation of a renewed Vision for the Boards of Appeal as a high quality, effective, coherent, and modern Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution Body.
The Action plan aims to:
- Ensure that the Boards of Appeal are able to cope with a growing number of ever more complex appeal cases, and deliver high-quality decisions in a timely manner, for the benefit of its user.
- Improve quality by developing a more consistent and coherent decisional practice further aligned with the case-law of the GC and CJEU, in order to provide users with higher levels of predictability and legal certainty as regards the overall work of the EUIPO.
- Focus on delivering high-quality decisions in a timely manner while being accountable to public scrutiny. In this regard, an additional challenge refers to the need to increase transparency and ensure accountability in all BoA activities.
- Contribute to enhancing and broadening the use of alternative dispute resolution at the EUIPO, in order to offer the parties suitable mechanisms and tools for finding expert and rapid solutions to their conflicts at an early stage, as a means of support to businesses, particularly SMEs.
- Collaborate with external partners, such as Appeal Bodies of national IP offices, European and National courts, and user associations, in order to facilitate a continuous exchange of expertise and knowledge, as well as, the further expansion of Common Practices in the areas of trade marks and designs.
Within the context of these goals, the Action Plan is structured around 5 Focus Areas and 19 interconnected Key Initiatives for actions to be implemented in close cooperation with internal and external partners.
Improve quality by promoting a more consistent and coherent decisional practice, enhancing alignment, legal certainity and greater predictability for internal and external users
Expand and broaded the use of alternative dispute resolution at the EUIPO by establishing the EUIPO Mediation Centre
Boards of Appeal Productivity
Boards of Appeal Conferences
The Boards of Appeal, together with other departments in the EUIPO, regularly hold conferences and seminars at the EUIPO’s headquarters in Alicante:
|Boards of Appeal Conferences Show|
Boards of Appeal publications
|Yearly overview of CJ/GC case-law* Show|
|Yearly overview of Boards of Appeal decisions* Show|
|Boards of Appeal Case-law Research Reports** Show|
|Boards of Appeal studies *** Show|
* The summaries and/or key points are provided for information purpose only and do not necessarily reproduce the exact wording of the decisions / judgments. The hyperlinks in case references lead to the Office’s eSearch Case Law database, giving users an easy access to decisions and judgments, together with any available translations.
** These reports are the result of discussions within the Consistency Circles and the General Consistency Meeting of the Boards of Appeal and reflect the views at the given date. They are working document and should not be considered to have any binding effect on the Boards of Appeal. For queries or feedback please contact BoA-CC-Coordination@euipo.europa.eu
***These studies reflect the opinion of the experts that have prepared them. Their purpose is to provide information and facilitate understanding of market realities and the legal and economic regulations and practices on specific issues in the Member States. In no way they should be considered as the opinion of the Boards of Appeal or having any kind of binding effect on the Boards