20 September 2017
Reporter: Theo Andrew

Unitary trademark should be pursued in the EU

A unitary trademark, similar to proposals for a unitary patent, should be pursued in the EU, according to Gregor Vos, partner at Brinkhof.

In a speech addressing the cultural trends in brands throughout Europe, at the Marques Brands and Culture conference in Prague, Vos suggested that a move towards a unitary trademark should be pursued, in order to fulfil the objective of the European Economic Community set out in the 1957 Treaty of Rome.

Vos said: “We are heading towards a unitary future. Keeping in mind the overall objective of the union, peace and prosperity, it is a very exciting time for EU trademark law.”

Current EU-wide trademark protection is done through the EU Trademark (EUTM), which gives uniform rights, applicable in all member states.

But, while unitary in character, the EUTM faces problems across EU member states as certain legal precedents may not apply in different jurisdictions.

If an application is rejected on grounds that do not apply in all EU states, the applicant will be forced to convert its EUTM application into a national one and must pay again to file in each country where the application is converted.

Standardised trademark law across jurisdictions could increase usage of the EUTM and be less of a risk.

The EU is attempting to do something similar with its patent protection system, forming a unitary patent and a Unified Patent Court that will create a harmonisation of laws across member states.

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