Readers of this weblog may recall the anxieties expressed by senior members of the trade mark community concerning the likely disruption, not to say chaos, that may be caused by the forced renumbering of the articles of the European Union's principal trade mark laws (see earlier IPKat posts here and here). The Kats have just received an update on the position from Knud Wallberg (Sandel, Løje & Wallberg, Copenhagen), who writes:
"The issue of the consolidated texts was discussed at the ECTA conference in Killarney last week. Alexander von Mühlendahl raised the issue in the session in which a representative from the Commission was present. The representative said that this was just one in a series of consolidated legal in the Better Regulation programme and that he could really not see our problems, since it must be an advantage to everybody that there is an authoritative version of the legal texts.The IPKat is grateful for this information, but remains depressed at the thought that Better Regulation is so clearly in this instance something that may be better in theory, possibly, for regulators but not for the system's users.
The latter is of course true but this is not only an consolidation of texts - in which all the inserted articles were listed with their present numbers such as by way of example Rule 16, Rule 16a etc.- but a renumbering so that 16a becomes 17 and so on. This has an impactson all guidelines of OHIM, creates problems with references to previous decision, templates used by users etc. so it definitely has a great – and unnecessary – impact. Also, the Commission is in the process of studying the functioning of the trade mark regulations in the EU, and will issue suggestions for change – if any – within a few years, so why not wait?
The problem is that the procedure for adopting such consolidated legal texts is such that they are put on the agenda for the EU Council as an A point, which means that are decided without debate (i.e. it may be the Council for the Ministers of Finances or Fisheries for that matter that adopts the texts). It is very difficult indeed to block or rather change this procedure in general and the Better Regulation procedure in particular. This can, to the best of my knowledge only be done by getting one or more member states to block the procedure, so that the usual procedure applies in stead! Under the usual procedure there will be more open discussions of the matter, users will be heard etc.".