12. 4. 2017

From October 2017 registration of EU certification marks will be possible

The new Regulation on the Community trade mark (Regulation), which we reported about in March 2016 , has inter alia introduced the possibility of registration of certification marks at EU level. Provisions relating to certification marks will apply from 1 October 2017.

In contrast to the individual and collective marks, which cover indication of origin, the certification mark represents indication of quality. The EU certification mark is intended for certification of goods or services in respect of material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics (with the exception of geographical origin).

Any natural or legal person may apply for EU certification marks provided that such person does not carry on a business involving the supply of goods or services of the kind certified. In contrast to individual and collective marks, the certification mark may not be used by its proprietor, since the latter should be independent and neutral in the certification and control of quality and other characteristics of the goods and services indicated by the certification mark.

As with collective EU marks, applicants for EU certification marks will have to submit regulations governing the use of the certification mark within two months of the date of filing the application or the application will be refused. Given that the European Commission has not yet determined the detailed requirements regarding the content of the regulations, their preparation will most likely one of the biggest challenges for future EU certification mark applicants. All that is know so far is that the regulations must contain the information set out in the Regulation.

Although the recast Directive to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks does not bind Member States to provide registration of collective marks, the introduction of the EU certification mark could be cause for introducing them on the national level as well. Furthermore, the introduction of this category of marks could also have an indirect impact on how the existing national quality signs (e.g. Izbrana kakovost and Izdelek slovenske obrti) will be treated in the future, especially where these are currently registered as individual or collective trademarks.

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