In order to understand community trademarks, we must first define the notion of trademarks.
A trademark is a form of intellectual property that consists of a distinctive sign used by a commercial entity, a legal person or an individual in order to identify a product or service in front of the future consumers and differentiate the product/service from those of other business organizations or other entities. Trademarks may consist of a symbol, an image, a word, a name or a combination of these.
We can thus define a Community trade mark as a means of protection of trademarks in the European Union, protection that is exclusive and not mandatory.
The signs that can be registered as Community trademarks are verbal, figurative, auditory, three-dimensional, a color per se, but also other brands that must be specified by the applicant.
If you're running a business in several EU countries, a Community trade mark offers protection throughout the EU.
The Regulation CE40 / 94 defines Community trademarks as "any signs capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, the shape of goods or of their packaging, provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of an enterprise from those of others".
Any natural or legal person may submit an application for a Community trade mark if he/she/it meets the following conditions:
- he/she/it has the nationality of a European Union Member State, the Member State of the Paris Convention or the World Trade Organization;
- he/she/it has a domicile, headquarters or an effective and serious industrial or commercial establishment within the European Union, a State member of the Paris Convention or the World Trade Organization.
If the person does not meet any of these conditions, there is the possibility of a Community trade mark if there is a reciprocal agreement between the European Union and the applicant’s country.
First, you must know that it is not compulsory to use a specific application form, but it is recommended to use a form provided by the OHIM because it indicates all the particular elements that the applicant must specify in order to be able to register the trade mark application. This form can be found on the official web pages of OSIM and OHIM.
The Community trade mark application may be filed in any of the official languages of the European Union.
Community trade marks shall be registered at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).
The Community trade mark application contains information regarding basic elements, namely:
- the elements of identification regarding the applicant;
- the type, name and graphic representation of the trademark (if applicable);
- the list of products and services that need to be protected;
- the signature of the applicant or his representative, if the applicant chooses to be represented by an industrial property attorney;
Any natural or legal person in Romania may apply directly to the OHIM on what concerns the registration of a Community trade mark by the following means: online, by e-filing, through a courier company, personally (at the Office in Spain), by fax ( at the number +34 965 131 344), and through the Romanian Office - OSIM, a national office of another European Union Member State or the Benelux Office.
However, national offices are not competent to intervene with the application, but strictly to send it to OHIM after the payment of a national fee.
The basic fee for the application regarding a Community trade mark is € 1050 for a paper form or 900 € for the online form. The fee for a collective trademark is 1800 €.
If the application meets the requirements for registration and no oppositions have been filed, or if filed objections were rejected by a final decision, it will be registered as a Community trade mark.
The validity of a Community trade mark is 10 years from the date of its submission, the trademark may be renewed an indefinite number of times for further additional periods of 10 years, in respect to the deadlines and payment of the renewal fee.
The application for renewal must be filed within a period not exceeding 6 months previous to the date at which the protection will cease and must be paid in the same timeline.
You can find more information on the nationwide registration of trademarks and contact lawyers specializing in intellectual property within the company Darie, Manea & Associates for more information regarding this field, for legal representation and professional legal assistance. Do not hesitate to contact us!