European Union Trademark

March 23, 2016

All trademark holders and prospective trademark holders pay attention! The "Trademark Reform Package", packed with major changes in European Trademark Law  will come into effect as of 23 March 2016. A few of the most important amendments are  presented below:

Terminology changes

As of March 23, 2016 we will no longer use the terms Community Trademark (CTM) or Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). From now on we will speak of an European Union Trademark (EUTM) and the European trademark authority will be called: European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).


Also the rules with respect to the classification heading of a trademark application or registration will change. Before, the class-heading-covers-all-principle was applied when filing a trademark application when assessing the scope of protection with regard to the goods and services.  From now on the EUIPO will implement the it-means-what-it-says-principle. The classification of a trademark must be sufficiently precise and clear in order to determine the scope of protection with regard to the goods and services. This means that the class heading is interpreted literally, thus using solely general terms in the classification heading does not lead to protection for all goods or services that are covered within that class anymore. The scope of protection solely covers the goods and services as defined specifically in the class heading. Trademark holders who have registered their trademark on or before June 22, 2012 have the opportunity to adapt their general classification to the new regulations. The deadline for requesting this amendment has been set on September 23, 2016. Holders of trademark registrations to which this rule applies, already have received an email regarding this one time possibility of specifying the class heading.

Graphical representation

According to the former regulation a trademark could only be applied for or registered if it could be represented graphically. If you were planning on applying a sound-trademark, for example the recognizable tune from Nokia, you could only apply this kind of trademark in the form a musical stave or other graphic display. As of the implementation of the new regulation, the requirement for graphical representation will no longer be applicable, soon it will be possible to apply a trademark in the form of other technologies that are generally available. For example, the Nokia tune could be filed in the form of a MP3. The EUIPO is trying to go along with the current technological developments.

Many more changes will be implemented in the new European Trademark Regulation, the abovementioned amendments are some examples of what you can expect as a trademark holder. Are you planning to file a new trade mark application and do you have any questions with regard, for example, the classification? Or are you a trademark holder and do you doubt if your trademark still enjoys the optimum scope of protection? Please contact Trademarkhost by telephone +31- 881309400 or e-mail

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