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Protect your trade marks and designs in the European Union

Protect your intellectual property in the European Union


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European Trade Mark and Design Network

The EU market depends on powerful brands

EUIPO and the European Union (EU) national IP offices are raising the bar in service levels by creating a Network that will provide all businesses across Europe with a similar registration experience for their trade marks and designs.

Go to the European Trade Mark and Design Network website

Harmonisation of practices and tools within the European Union (EU) and beyond underpins the EUIPO's work. Users of the intellectual property (IP) system require certainty and reliability when registering their goods and services: our role is to provide these by offering top-class registration services, and ensuring that IP systems that underpin commerce remain efficient and accessible to users.

Businesses around the world should be able to decide where to register their trade marks and designs on the basis of their business strategies rather than the different practices or tools offered by national and regional registration systems.

The EUIPO, together with the European Union's intellectual property offices, international organisations and user groups, is working towards minimising such differences by creating a comprehensive European Trade Mark and Design Network.

The end goal of this Network is to provide a high-quality experience for users of the IP system by providing up-to-date electronic services, facilitating access to information, and converging practices with regard to how IP offices examine and evaluate trade marks and designs.

To this end, the actions initiated have been threefold:

  • The creation of common IT tools through the Cooperation Fund.
  • The convergence of practice between IP offices through the Convergence Programme.
  • The harmonisation of legislation on trade marks and designs.

Common tools from the Cooperation Fund

The Cooperation Fund was established in February 2010 to streamline working methods and modernise EU IP offices through up-to-date administrative solutions. The EUIPO has invested €50 million in the Fund.

The Fund encompasses 18 projects that will help EU offices and the EUIPO to provide users with the best options for protecting their rights. From the common call-centre IT tool to an automatic reporting tool for trade mark and design examiners, the projects help both the users and the examiners who evaluate their applications.

The tools are available along with other information through the EUTMDN portal, and through the website of IP offices across Europe.

Convergence of practice

The EUIPO Convergence Programme links EUIPO with national offices and user organisations to try to reach common ground in areas where IP offices have different practices. It was launched in 2011 and complements the work being done on common IT tools taking place under the Cooperation Fund.

The Convergence Programme encompasses five projects, which range from seeking a common way to classify goods and services when applying for a trade mark or design to such legalities as whether black and white trade marks cover other colours or not.

The main benefits for users are:

  • Protection: easier, more effective and efficient access to the protection offered by registration systems both at national and EU level.
  • Savings: cost savings by having the same practices across all offices.
  • Legal security: increased legal security when applying for a trade mark or design. Convergence will limit, if not eliminate, situations where similar trade mark and design applications are treated differently.
Common Communication on the implementation of IP Translator Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice on the General Indications
of the Nice Class Headings
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Common Communication on the Common Practice on the Acceptability of Classification Terms Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice of the Scope of Protection of Black and White ("B&W") Marks Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice of Relative Grounds of Refusal – Likelihood of Confusion (impact of non-distinctive/weak components) Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice of Distinctiveness – Figurative Marks containing descriptive/non-distinctive words Show Hide
Common Communication on graphic representation of designs Show Hide
Common Communication on the representation of new types of trade marks Show Hide

Harmonisation of legislation

In 2008 the European Commission took up the challenge of reviewing both the EU trade mark Regulation and Directive. Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council amending the Community trade mark regulation was published on 24 December 2015 and entered into force on 23 March 2016. From that day, the Office changed its name from the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community trade mark became the European Union trade mark.

The amending regulation builds on the success of the EU trade mark by modernising and adapting its provisions to the internet era. It seeks to streamline proceedings and increase legal certainty; define clearly all the Office's tasks including the framework for cooperation and convergence of practices between the Office and the industrial property offices of the Member States; revise the fees payable to the Office, including an overall reduction in their amounts, particularly significant in the case of renewals, and the adoption of a one-class-per-fee system.

Page last updated 01-12-2017