The European Union Council and Commission, as well as the European Parliament, have agreed to the following proposals for changes to the CTM Directive and Regulations that are likely to take effect in 2016. These will be the first substantive reforms since the CTM system was introduced in 1996. Noteworthy changes include:
• The Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (“OHIM”) will be renamed the European Union Intellectual Property Office; the CTM will be renamed the European Union Trade Mark; and the Community Trade Mark Court in each Member State will be renamed the European Union Trade Mark Court;
• The current application fees covering up to three classes will be replaced by a system allowing for fees to be assessed for the first class, with additional fees for additional classes;
• Application fees will be due on filing, instead of the current option of payment within one month of the application being lodged;
• The requirement that marks in CTM applications must be “represented graphically” will be removed in favor of a requirement that such marks merely be “capable of being represented in a manner which enables the competent authorities, and the public, to determine the precise subject of the protected afforded;”
• Certification marks will probably be introduced; and
• “Bad faith” will be introduced as a Ground of Opposition where the Opponent has an earlier trademark right outside the EU.