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 assessing the general indications of the Nice class headings falls into the second category. It considers a common understanding of the requirements necessary to achieve clarity and precision in the identification of goods and services in an application for registration. 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.