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Friday, 21 November 2003


The IPKat has heard that, at a meeting of the COREPER (the European Union’s Committee of Permanent Representatives) this week, it was agreed to change the currently unpopular search system for Community Trade Marks. Searches of the EU’s national registers will become optional for CTM applicants, although the search of the OHIM register will remain compulsory. In a spirit of compromise that will enable national trade mark granting authorities to milk CTM applicants for a little while longer, this change will not be implemented until the passage of a transitional period of four years. This political compromise is expected to receive final formal approval at next week's Council Meeting.

In a letter to members of MARQUES, the association of European trade mark proprietors, chairman Tove Graulund describes this compromise as “not ideal for brand owners, but acceptable”. Tove notes that, in four years’ time, applicants will be able to decide for themselves if they wish to make use of national searches or not.

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