Common practice of the protection of black and white marks

The European Trade Mark and Design Network are looking at common practice on the scope of protection of black and white trade marks.



The European Trade Mark and Design Network is an initiative to reduce the differences in practices between the national offices and also the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The network provides different options for protecting trade mark and design rights within the EU.

The network has three strands of activity.

  1. Convergence of IT tools through the Cooperation Fund
  2. Voluntary convergence of practice via a Convergence Programme
  3. A move to further harmonise legislation which is being led by the European Commission

The convergence work on determining identity/similarity between colour and black-and-white versions of the same mark falls into the second category. It considers how colour affects identity in the context of likelihood of confusion, claims to priority, and proof of use. The conclusions drawn from this convergence work are set out in the Common Communication document.

Please note as of 23 March 2016 it will no longer be possible to file an EU-wide trade mark via the UK IPO. From that date all applications for an EU-wide trade mark will need to be through EUIPO directly. Also from that date OHIM will be renamed EUIPO (the European Union Intellectual Property Office) and Community trade marks will be renamed European Union trade marks.