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:
- 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 the filing of graphic representations falls into the second category. It considers a common understanding of the requirements necessary to increase transparency, legal certainty and guidance for users and examiners. This provides guidance on dealing with disclaimers, different types of views and neutral backgrounds. The conclusions drawn from this convergence work are set out in the common communication document.