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November 18, 2014 Website
OHIM introduces Fast Track for trade mark applications
Starting on 24 November, OHIM will offer trade mark applicants the opportunity to have their applications examined and published faster. This accelerated procedure is known as Fast Track and will be available free of charge to applicants who comply with certain conditions, such as paying upfront and selecting their goods and services from OHIM's database of accepted terms.
When the Office receives an application, we examine it to assess whether it is a valid trade mark. The more complex the application, the more time it takes to examine it. This is why applications that comply with certain conditions can be faster to reach the first step in the registration process, their publication. With Fast Track, applications can be published in half of the time or less compared with regular applications.
With a Fast Track application you have to select your goods and services from the Harmonised database, which is a database of terms already accepted by OHIM and by virtually all the national intellectual property offices in the European Union. This greatly reduces the likelihood of deficiencies and helps ensure that applicants' trade marks will be processed smoothly.
To apply for Fast Track you can use any of our trade mark online applications, the Five-step form and the Advanced form.
- The Five-step form has been designed for Fast Track: it guides you step by step in your choices so that your application can be processed under the Fast Track.
- The Advanced form alerts you when your application is a Fast Track one and when it is not. If your application does not fulfil any of the Fast Track conditions, it will flag this up.
Please note that applications received during this coming weekend (November 22 and 23) will be processed as from Monday 24 under the new examination procedure. Applications received during the weekend will also be able to benefit from the new Fast Track.
What are the conditions for Fast Track?
Whether you choose to apply via the Five-step or the Advanced form, there are two main conditions that must be met in order for your application to be treated as Fast Track:
- You need to select your terms from OHIM's Harmonised database, which contains terms that have been pre-validated and pre-translated.
- You need to pay upfront: Our examiners can only start examining the application once payment has been completed. Provided payment is made promptly and there are no deficiencies at the time of filing and during examination of the application, your application will proceed via the Fast Track.
Frequently asked questions
Does Fast Track mean that my trade mark will be registered more quickly?
In the vast majority of cases Fast Track will help your trade mark to be registered more quickly, but registration will ultimately depend on whether there is a conflicting trade mark that opposes yours and on how the opposition process evolves.
What Fast Track does guarantee is that the first step in the registration process, the publication of the application, can be achieved more quickly.
Why do I need to choose from OHIM's database of terms?
You need to select your goods and services from OHIM's Harmonised database because the terms it contains have not only already been validated by our examiners, but they have also been translated and the quality of these translations is guaranteed. This means that we can avoid the translation step, which would delay the processing of the application. It is also safer, as you can be sure that your chosen terms have been validated by us and therefore will not trigger any classification deficiencies, which would also lead to a delay in publication.
What happens if my application is not Fast Track?
If your application is not Fast Track, it will proceed as a regular application.
Can my application drop out of the Fast Track?
Even though some applications may comply with the Fast Track conditions at the time of filing, they may lose their Fast Track status at a later stage. This can be caused by a deficiency found during the absolute grounds examination, such as a potential trade mark not being distinctive enough to register. Examples of other reasons are:
- late payment;
- a request for a limitation of goods and services;
- other deficiencies (such as missing priority or seniority attachments).
Do I have to pay more for a Fast Track application?
No, Fast Track is free of charge to users who comply with the Fast Track conditions.