An important decision for any brand owner, given the territorial nature of trade marks, is in which countries to seek protection.
Many applicants may only trade in their home country, but for others based in the European Union, it is important to seek protection across the European Union by way of a Community trade mark.
However, the fact that the Community Trade Mark official fees are so expensive deters many start ups from filing for EU protection.
If a brand owner wanted to register in three classes the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM)’s fees would be €1,600.00 for application and registration. The strength of the Euro further exacerbates the unaffordability of EU applications for those based outside the European single currency zone.
Fortunately, OHIM’s Administrative Board and Budget Committee recently considered this point and concluded here that they should consider implementing a fee reduction. If the proposal is implemented applicants will in future pay €1,000 instead of €1,600.00.
This will be a welcome move towards encouraging organisations with less means to protect their brands. It will prevent the costly expense involved in relying on unregistered rights. In the short term however, brand owners will have to continue to bare the brunt of OHIM’s official fees.