In 1951, six European countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands,
Belgium, Luxemburg and Italy) founded the European Coal and Steel
Community (ECSC). This first Community grew out of a plan
developed by the French civil servant Jean Monnet and presented by
the French foreign minister Robert Schuman on May 9, 1950 ("Schuman
Declaration"). In 1957, the six founding members founded the
European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic
Energy Community (Euratom). The EEC was by far the most
important of the three communities. Its purpose was to establish a
customs union among the six founding members, based on the "four
freedoms": freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people.
In the following years, the European Communities underwent several
structural changes and enlarged from six to 25 member states.
In 1992, the concept "European Union" was established by the
Treaty of Maastricht, which divided EU policies into three main areas,
called pillars: The first or "Community" pillar concerns economic,
social and environmental policies. The second or "Common Foreign
and Security Policy" (CFSP) pillar concerns foreign policy and military
matters. And the third or "Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal
Matters" (PJCC) pillar concerns cooperation in the fight against
crime. The Treaty of Maastricht also laid the basis for further forms
of cooperation in foreign and defense policy, in judicial and internal
affairs, and in the creation of an economic and monetary unionincluding
a common currency.
This further integration created the European Union (EU). In 1995,
Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU, raising the membership
total to 15. A new currency, the euro, was launched in world money
markets on January 1, 1999; it became the unit of exchange for all of
the EU states except the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark. In
2002, citizens of the 12 euro-area countries began using the euro
banknotes and coins. Ten new countries joined the EU in 2004-
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia-bringing the current membership
In order to ensure that the EU can continue to function efficiently
with an expanded membership, the 2003 Treaty of Nice set forth rules
streamlining the size and procedures of EU institutions. An EU
Constitutional Treaty, signed in Rome on October 29, 2004, gave
member states two years to ratify the document before it was
scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2006. Referenda held in
France and the Netherlands in May-June 2005 rejected the proposed
constitution. This development suspended the ratification effort and
left the longer-term political integration of the EU in limbo.
Who May Apply?
My natural or legal person, including authorities established under
public law, may be the proprietor of a Community Trade Mark.
What Can Be Registered?
Any sign that fulfills the requirements of Article 4 CTMR and is not
blocked by absolute grounds of refusal under Article 7 CTMR.
What Cannot Be Registered?
Under Article 7(1), a sign may not be registered if it:
(a) is not capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one
undertaking from those of others and thus does not fulfill the
requirements of Article 4 CTMR;
(b) is devoid of any distinctive character;
(c) is purely descriptive in relation to the kind, quality, quantity,
intended purpose, value, geographical origin or the time of production
of the goods or of rendering of the service, or other
characteristics of the goods or service;
(d) consists exclusively of signs or indications which have become
customary in the current language or in the bona fide and
established practices of the trade;
(el consists exclusively of the shape which results from the nature
of the goods themselves or the shape of goods which is necessary
to obtain a technical result; or the shape which gives
substantial value to the goods;
(f) is contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality;
(g) is of such a nature as to deceive the public, for instance as to
the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or service; (h) has not been authorized by the competent authorities and must
be refused pursuant to Article Gter of the Paris Convention;
(i) includes badges, emblems or escutcheons other than those
covered by Article Gter of the Paris Convention and which is of
particular public interest, unless the consent of the appropriate
authorities to their registration has been given;
(j) in the case of trademarks for wines, if the sign contains or
consists of a geographical indication identifying wines or for
spirits which contain or consist of a geographical indication
identifying spirits with respect to such wines or spirits not having
(k) contains or consist of a designation of origin or a geographical
indication registered in accordance with Regulation (EEC) No.
2081192 when they correspond to one of the situations covered
by Article 13 of the said Regulation and regarding the same
type of product, on condition that the application for registration
of the trademark has been submitted after the date of filing
with the Commission of the application for registration of the
designation of origin or geographical indication.
After publication of a CTM application, third parties may file
observations setting forth the particular absolute grounds for ex parte
refusal of the application under Article 7 CTMR. Such observations
must be communicated to the applicant. Third parties are not,
however, a party to any proceeding before OHIM based on such
The application for a Community Trade Mark must contain:
1. a request for the registration of a Community Trade Mark;
2. information identifying the applicant;
3. a list of the goods or services for which the registration is
4. a representation of the trademark.
5. if the applicant has appointed a representative, his name and
the address of his place of business; ,
6. where the priority of a previous application is claimed pursuant
to Article 30 of the Regulation, a declaration to that effect, stating
the date on which and the country in or for which the previous
application was filed; 7. where the seniority of one or more earlier trademarks, registered
in a member state, including a trademark registered in the Benelux
countries or registered under international arrangements
having effect in a member state (hereinafter referred to as earlier
registered trademarks, as referred to in Article 34 of the Regulation)
is claimed pursuant to Article 34 of the Regulation, a declaration
to that effect, stating the member state or member states
in or for which the earlier mark is registered, the date from
which the relevant registration was effective, the number of the
relevant registration, and the goods and services for which the
mark is registered;
8. specification of the language in which the application has been
filed, and of the second language;
9. the signature of the applicant or his representative.
The application for a Community Trade Mark also requires the payment
of the application fee and, when appropriate, of one or more
Language regime for filing purposes:
The application for a Community Trade Mark must be filed in one
of the official languages of the European Community (20 languages).
However, the applicant must indicate a second language which must
be a language of the Office and the use of which he accepts as a possible
language of proceedings for opposition, revocation or invalidity
proceedings. The languages of the Office are English, French, German,
Italian and Spanish.
A CTM application may either be filed directly with the OHIM or
else with any EU member state trademark office.
Evaluation & Review
The application procedure can be separated into the following stages:
1. Examination of the list of goods and services covered by the
marks by OHIM;
2. Examination of the sign vis-8-vis possible absolute grounds of
refusal by OHIM;
3. Publication of the mark; the time limit for filing an opposition
expires three months following the publication date of the application;
4. If no oppositions are filed within the three-month period following
publication, the CTM application proceeds to registration.
The CTM registration is valid for a period of 10 years from the application
filing date. Registration may be renewed for additional 10-
year periods upon payment of renewal fees. The request for renewal
and payment of fees must be submitted during the last six months of
The OHIM renewal fees are 1350 Euro via e-renewal or 1500 Euro
via regular or nonelectronic renewal for a CTM registration containing
goods or services in three classes.
If, within a period of five years following registration, the proprietor
has not put the Community Trade Mark to genuine use in the Community
in connection with the goods or services in respect of which it
is registered, or if such use has been suspended during an uninterrupted
period of five years, the Community Trade Mark shall be
subject to the sanctions provided for in this regulation, unless there
are proper reasons for nonuse.
A CTM registration is genuinely used if its use differs in elements
which do not alter the distinctive character of the mark in the form in
which it was registered or if the mark is affixed to goods or to the
packaging thereof in the Community solely for export purposes.
Use of the CTM with the consent of the proprietor constitutes use
by the proprietor.
Since its introduction on April 7, 2006, more than 2 million .eu
domain names have already been registered.' The .eu Top-Level
Domain (TLD) is the first pan-regional domain name. It is open for
any natural persons resident within the EU or businesses established
in any of the 25 EU member states.
The European Commission appointed EURid (The European Registry
for Internet Domains) as the registry for .eu domains. The headquarters
of EURid are located in Brussels, Belgium. Applications
for.eu domains cannot be filed through EURid itself but have to be
submitted via an accredited registrar. EURid operates a WHOIS
database which includes information about the registrant and technical
EC Regulation No. 138312003 became effective throughout the
European Union on July 1, 2004. Under this regulation, a wide range
of intellectual property rights are protected against counterfeiting
Regulation No. 138312003 provides for both a procedural framework to be followed by customs officials, upon written application by the
trademark proprietor, where counterfeitinglpiracy is suspected, as
well as providing for specific measures to be taken once counterfeiting
piracy has been established.
The new, streamlined procedure set forth by this regulation
authorizes direct contact with customs officials with respect to the
seizure of goods without the need for prior judicial authorization.