After almost two years' work, the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council concluded a political agreement on 22 April 2015 reforming the EU trademark rules. This is the first reform since the national rules on trademark registration were harmonised 20 years ago.

Even though the rules have basically not changed in the last 20 years, the world has changed, and the rules are no longer in line with the reality faced by EU businesses. The current changes have mainly concerned specific changes in the content but, with the new reform, the EU wishes to streamline the member states' formal requirements and procedures as well as to eliminate the inconsistency between the trademark directive and the EU trademark regulation. 

In addition to a general renewal of the already existing rules, the reform will involve the following:

  • A price reduction of up to 37 % on EU trademarks;
  • A more effective and uniform registration procedure in the member states;
  • A specification of the scope of protection of the trademarks; 
  • More powerful tools to fight forgery, especially for products in transit on EU territory.

According to the EU, the reform will lead to improvements for proprietors of national as well as Community trademarks. The objective is therefore to make the EU more attractive for small, medium-sized and large enterprises by way of increased efficiency, flexibility and transparency. 

The reform will not come into force until it has been formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, which is expected in the weeks to come. The member states are then to implement the new rules of the directive within three years, while the new rules of the regulation will generally apply to the individual member states as from the effective date of the regulation.