Wednesday whimsies

One thing you can find in the European Union's trade mark harmonisation directive 2008/95 but not in the Community Trade Mark Regulation CTMR) is provision for the registration and protection of certification marks.  Unlike the state of the weather, certification marks are not a daily topic of conversation even for the most enthusiastic of IP folk, which is why the IPKat was so interested to receive this missive from his good friend Belinda Isaac:
"In a small room in the bowels of the Marriott Hotel in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, a group of sundry Europeans met to discuss, among other things, certain recommendations made in the Max Planck Institute's recent study. One proposal, which I imagined would not be at all controversial, proved to be the very opposite. The proposal is to amend the CTMR so as to permit registration of certification marks (these being marks that signal to consumers that the products to which they are attached comply with a specified objective quality standard and which differ from collective marks in that they are open to use by all third parties complying with the standard, not just members of a particular organisation. The owner of the certification mark is not permitted to use it --  in other words it exists for the direct benefit of users and consumers rather than the owner.

The Report acknowledges that some Member States currently provide mechanisms to protect certification marks within their national trade mark systems, while others do not. In the interests of harmonisation it suggests that consideration should be given to amending the CTMR to allow for a Community certification trade mark system which OHIM could administer.

The UK has operated such a system for many decades and consumers benefit from the assurance given by notable device marks such as the wool mark (left). For no reason of which I am aware the reference to certification marks was removed from the original CTMR just before the final version was approved. Amending the legislation now to bring certification marks within the Community system seems a good idea and one that would benefit all existing certification mark holders in the UK. I was therefore surprised to hear that some people are strongly opposed to the idea and suggested that a full impact assessment study should be carried out before the idea is taken any further.

I would be very interested to know what readers of this weblog think of the idea of extending the CTMR to include certification marks and why, and whether they have any experience of using the current system of certification trade marks in the UK or elsewhere".
Says the IPKat, you can post your comments below or email them to Belinda here.  Asks Merpel, is there any reason why trade marks, geographical indications and certification marks should be treated differently when they all have the same exclusionary force, run the same risk of being damaged or infringed by third parties, have an essential function of guaranteeing origin and/or quality and need some sort of registration?

The Trademark Blog, home to
the 2011 IP LAW BlogDex
Around the blogs.  The PatLit blog has been busy of late, publicising the new Guide to the Patents County Court for England and Wales, here and adding a 27th PCC Page in its current series, summarising the new cost-capping arrangements.   Elsewhere the jiplp weblog carries an editorial asking whether the innovation edge which the US maintains over Europe is the result of it having better IP laws or of having a more tolerant and hands-off approach to the regulation of competition, here.  The 1709 Blog's Ben Challis has produced two solid pieces.  These explain the recent US$ 105 millions LimeWire settlement and offer some further thoughts on it.  At the Meet the Bloggers session at Swig earlier tonight, Marty Schwimmer's Trademark Blog launched the 2011 IP LAW BlogDex, a listing of some 45 IP law blogs which will be updated from time to time. Nathalie Dreyfus's is now operating both in French and in English.

"Emerging IP Monetization Solutions: The Institutionalization of an IP Exchange" is the formidable title of a seminar presented by Gerard Pannekoek (Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of IPXI Holdings) in Oxford Law Faculty Room 19 on Wednesday 25 May.Further details can be found here and there's an accompanying paper from the IPKat's friend Roya Ghafele (University of Oxford) together with James Malackowski (Ocean Tomo) and Benjamin Gibert (University of Oxford) here.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Certification marks are characterized by the requirement to file "regulations" - and these can amount to tens, if not hundreds, of pages.
    Whilst a single pan-EU system would be nice, I can see that old chestnut/marron/Kastanie of the language regime dominating policy on this issue. I would certainly not want to translate several thousand words of regulation into Finnish and Hungarian, if I am only interested in trading in the UK, Ireland and Germany.
    Nor do I think getting the EU to do the translating for free would be a suitable use of EU translation resources - it takes long enough at the moment just to get them to translate a simple trade mark spec!


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