TUESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2015
Cluttering of the trade mark register: is it really a problem?
Cluttering and Non-Use of Trade Marks in Europe is the title of a report published yesterday by the United Kingdom's Intellectual Property Office. It's 118 pages in length and is likely to be not a little controversial. For one thing, it reflects the fact that not everyone agrees that there is a problem with the trade mark register being cluttered up with unused and unworthy marks.
You can read the report in full by clicking here. If you want a sample, the following taster comes from the Conclusion on page 71:
Our quantitative research shows that CTM registrations have overall a significantly broader goods/services scope than US registrations, notably at the level of priority pairs. It also shows a similar but less pronounced situation pertaining to UK and US registrations. This points strongly to an existing and growing pattern of EU trade mark filing producing growing proportions of registration scope unlikely to be used. It further points to the distinct prospect that direct evidence of unused registration scope might be obtainable, and how. Notably though it provides strong pointers to the need for wider consideration of the reasons for all these indications of likely growth of unused registration scope.
Our research indicates the likely beneficial effects to trade mark users of proof of use in focusing trade mark goods/services scope onto the owner’s market place use of a registered mark. The trade-off for that benefit is lesser scope for the owner to sue for third party infringement and additional costs for follow up applications to protect the mark concerned for market-place line extensions. The balance though seems likely to be tipped by Recital 9 of the Trade Marks Directive and its concerns to take unused registration scope, seen as “deadwood”, out of the EU system.
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