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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
Birgit Clark
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Christian Tenkhoff
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Markku Tuominen
Niamh Hall
Nikos Prentoulis
Stefan Schröter
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Yvonne Onomor
GREECE: New trademark law

Perhaps not the most fortunate timing, but on 20 March 2020, Greece's new - and long awaited - TM law was enacted. Law No. 4679/2020 represents the country's transposition instrument of Directive 2015/2436 and a further effort of alignment with the system of rule of the European Trademark. The new trademark law brings about significant changes, which include:


Relative grounds for refusal are no longer examined ex-officio

So it's EUIPO-style for the GR TM Office as well, with notifications sent to proprietors of TMs cited in the automated report upon filing


Civil courts have dual competence in trademark invalidity proceedings

The competence to rule upon the validity of trademarks has been transferred from administrative to civil courts. A cancellation action before the Trademarks Administrative Committee is always available, but the Committee's decision are now subject to appeal before the single-Member First Instance Court of Athens and not before the administrative courts.


This change goes hand-in-hand with the introduction of invalidity / cancellation counter-claims in infringement proceedings before the civil courts.

Rules have been set in place to avoid parallel proceedings (e.g. a cancellation action before the Trademarks Administrative Committee) and the risk of conflicting judgments. The invalidity counter-claim is also available to the defendant in temporary relief proceedings, but cannot lead to definitive invalidity


Non-use as defense in infringement proceedings, both in the context of a main action and in temporary relief proceedings

The defendant in infringement proceedings can raise non-use of the trademark as a defense, rather than having to file separate cancellation action before the Trademarks’ Committee, as was the case under the previous legal regime. Art. 40 of the new law sets up a particular procedure for such proof of use request, essentially 'cracking' the general rules of civil procedure.


Remedies for infringement

Damages are awarded to the trademark owner only in the event of willful infringement or gross negligence on the part of the infringer (Art. 38 para. 5), while, under the previous legal regime, any type of negligence would suffice for damages purposes. The wording employed is based on the Greek text of Art. 13 para. 2 of the IPR Enforcement Directive, which translates, perhaps unsuccessfully, "reasonable grounds to know" as "gross negligence". This provision may be problematic, particularly as such type of (higher) culpability standard for damages is not required for damages over copyright or patent infringement.


Voluntary Mediation before the Trademark Office

Its success remains to be seen.


Other notable provisions include

  • Changes in the renewal procedure to reflect Art. 49 of Directive 2015/2436 (Art. 36), but, now late renewal will not "overturn rights of third parties which were acquired in the meantime".
  • The transposition of Art. 8 of Directive 2015/2436 (art. 53) where lack of distinctive character or of reputation of an earlier trademark prevents the cancellation of a later trademark.
  • The transposition of Art. 18 of Directive 2015/2436 (Art. 48) establishing the "intervening right" defense of the owner of a later trademark in infringement proceedings.
  • A slight change in the Greek Trademark Office's fees structure to favour online filing and renewal.
Posted by: Nikos Prentoulis @ 07.44
Tags: Greece, new law, trademarks, Directive 2015/2436,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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