In response to the current financial and economic crisis, the European Commission recently recommended that the EU and its Member States reduce by up to 75% the fees for patent applications and maintenance, and halve the costs for trademark applications and registrations. The Commission included this recommendation in its "European Economic Recovery Plan", adopted on November 26, 2008, in part to reduce administrative burdens and promote entrepreneurship.
The Plan was issued after the European trademark office -- the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) -- decided in September 2008 to reduce its fees by 40% to around €1,000.00 for the combined cost of a Community Trade Mark ("CTM") application and registration by the spring of 2009. According to the head of OHIM's Administrative Board, António Campinos, OHIM is entering the first phase of the implementation of that reduction. So far there is no decision whether the fee reduction might be increased from 40% to 50% as proposed by the European Commission's plan. Currently, OHIM's fees for a CTM application and resulting registration are:
- €900 (approx. US$1,253), plus €150 for each class of goods and services over three, for filing a CTM application; OR
- €750 (approx. US$1,044), plus €150 for each class of goods and services over three, for filing a CTM application by electronic means; PLUS
- €850 (approx. US$1,183), plus €150 for each class of goods and services over three, for obtaining the registration of a CTM.
Given its many benefits, a European Community Trade Mark registration is a wise investment for brand owners seeking broad trademark protection in Europe. The CTM registration covers all 27 Member States of the European Community, from Austria to the United Kingdom. The owner need only use the mark in one member state in order to prevent invalidation due to non-use, yet protection (and the ability to enforce the mark against others) still extends throughout all Member States. The Community Trade Mark allows the applicant to use a single application, in a single language, and reduces time and costs in managing the resulting trademark registration.
Parker Poe recommends brand owners review their trademark portfolios and the countries in which they sell or manufacture their goods or offer their services, particularly to prepare to take advantage of any cost reductions in Europe (or elsewhere) as they go into effect.
Contact Art DeBaugh or Evan Fultz for more information about protecting your trademarks in Europe, the United States or other jurisdictions.