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Trade Marks - UK or Europe

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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Many clients ask me which one is right for them, this article sets out some important information to help make that decision.

UK

A UK trade mark costs £200 (not including legal fees) plus an extra £50 for every classification over one. The Process takes around six months provided that there are no complications along the way.

The proposed mark will first be examined to ensure that it functions as a trade mark, i.e. it indicated origin of the goods or services.

If this ‘Absolute’ check is successful then the mark will be examined under ‘Relative Grounds for Refusal’. This examination ensures that the proposed mark is not identical or confusingly similar to an existing UK or European trade mark.

If this stage is successful then the mark will be published in the Trade Marks Journal for a period of three months to allow anybody to oppose its registration. (Perhaps on the grounds that they have been using a similar mark for years but did not obtain registration)

If no such opposition is raised then the mark will automatically be registered.

It is worth noting that (in my view) the Patent Office approach is very strict and it can quite often refuse marks which in our view should never have been refused. Due to this it is believed that the second phase above is soon to be scraped in favour of the European approach below.

European

A CTM cost €750 to file with an extra €150 for every class over 3. Upon registration a fee of €850 is payable to the OHIM. (none of these include legal fees). A CTM process takes around 18 months.

The initial process is the same as above.

If the ‘Absolute’ grounds are met the proposed mark will be examined under relative grounds. However, unlike the UK approach, the OHIM will notify any owners of similar or identical CTM’s that the application has been filed and it is up to these owners to raise an opposition within the publication period.

It is also worth noting that the approach of OHIM is far less stringent then the UK Patent Office and has in the past accepted many marks which fell foul of the UK examination procedure.

It is for this reason that the UK will soon adopt a similar approach to that above.

There are three distinct differences between a UK and European mark:

1. The cost of a CTM is approximately £1,000 more then that of a UK application.

2. The process is approximately 1year longer for a CTM

3. The CTM protects the owner in all 25 member states. The UK only protects in the UK.

The decision is yours……………………..


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-08-02 22:45:57 in Legal Articles

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