The European Trade Mark and Design Network is an initiative to reduce 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:
- convergence of IT tools through the cooperation fund
- voluntary convergence of practice via a convergence programme
- a move to further harmonise legislation which is being led by the European Commission
The convergence work on assessing distinctiveness in respect of figurative marks containing descriptive and/or non-distinctive words falls into the second category. It considers the impact of figurative elements upon the overall assessment of composite or stylised trade marks which otherwise contain descriptive and/or non-distinctive words, and provides guidance on dealing with the most common forms of stylisation such as typefaces, geometric shapes, colours, and figurative representations of goods and services. 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.