Trade Marks In Europe: The Max Planck Study

Author:Ms Isabel Davies and Lucy Kilshaw
Profession:CMS Cameron McKenna LLP

The Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law has produced its Study on the Overall Functioning of the European Trade Mark System, published on the European Commission website. This comprehensive document (279 pages) is accompanied by survey data and makes a large number of recommendations relating to changes in trade mark law and procedure, which will now be considered by the European Commission.

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Full Article

The Study on the Overall Functioning of the European Trade Mark System (the 'Study') by the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law, (the 'Institute') is defined as one element of and a 'contribution' to the European Commission's overall evaluation of the European trade mark system. The Commission is not obliged to follow any of the recommendations, some of which are likely to be controversial.


The purpose of the Study is to provide the Commission with an in-depth assessment of the functioning of the trade mark system in Europe at both Community and national levels and to identify potential areas for improvement. The Study also seeks to establish the potential for enhanced co-operation between OHIM and the national offices and to evaluate how best to implement the distribution of a proportion of the renewal fees paid for Community trade marks to Member States.

Research conducted

The Institute focused on:

investigating the views of the relevant stakeholders in the European trade mark systems (on the basis of the contributions received, the Institute organised two hearings with representatives of the various associations in June 2010); collecting information from national trade mark offices, in particular information on structure, procedures, enforcement and co-operation with users and with OHIM; and a representative survey among users of the Community Trade Mark ("CTM") system which was conducted in February and March 2010 by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach. Recommendations

The Institute draws conclusions and makes a large number of recommendations, the most interesting of which are outlined below.

Distribution of OHIM fees: OHIM's current surplus is over €400 million. It had already been proposed that 50% of OHIM's renewal fees should be distributed to national offices, and used specifically for trade mark related purposes. The Study proposes that this 50% share should be divided equally between (i) a minimum amount...

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