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Directive centralises trade mark regulation at EU level

14 Jan 2019 / EU law Print

Directive centralises trade mark regulation at EU level

Trade mark law is to have its first major reform in 20 years with an overhaul that will provide greater legal certainty for business.

Under the new system, all trade mark applications will be centralised at EU level, bypassing national procedures.


Reforms announced this morning by Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys (pictured above) will make trade mark registration systems more accessible and efficient for business, her Department says.

Under Council Regulation 2017/1001, it is no longer possible for applicants for EU trade marks to file their applications with a national office as all applications must now go directly to the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

Therefore, the European Communities (Community Trade Mark) Regulations, 1996 (S.I. No. 10/1996), which provides for a handling fee for forwarding EU trade mark applications to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, is now revoked.

The move follows an EU Directive, transposed this morning into Irish law, which modernises the trade mark system in Europe, further harmonising the national laws of EU member states.


The changes will streamline procedures, facilitate cooperation, support anti-counterfeiting measures and provide up-to-date means by which to protect a trade mark, the Department says.

Minister Humphreys said this morning “The reforms to the trade mark system are intended to make national and EU trademark law fit for the challenges of business in the 21st century.

“They include a wide range of innovations, both legal and technical, which will mean more efficiency for businesses.

“In practice, this translates into lower costs, greater predictability and more legal certainty.”

National level

In Europe, a trade mark can be registered at national level at the Industrial Property (IP) offices of Member States, or at EU level as a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). 

SMEs which do not need their trade mark to be protected at EU level tend to use national systems.

The new and amended provisions modernises Irish trade law and procedures, will enable greater approximation with the EUTM system and facilitate cooperation between the IP offices of the member states and the EUIPO.


The S.I. No. 561 of 2018 European Union (Trade Marks) Regulations 2018 transposing the Directive comes into effect today.

The change amends and extends certain provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1996 to give statutory effect to Directive (EU) 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2015, amending Directive 2008/95/EC and to certain provisions of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of 14 June 2017, on the European Union Trade Mark.

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