The European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO), formerly known as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), is the central institution of the European Union responsible for the management of the European Union’s trademarks and designs, which are strategic assets in business life .
Its headquarters are located in Spain, in Alicante.
Its counterpart for patents is the European Patent Office (EPO), based in Munich, Germany.
In France, the office in charge is the Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle(INPI) based in Courbevoie.
What are the missions?
The EUIPO is primarily concerned with the registration of registered European Union trademarks and designs, as well as the harmonization of registration practices for the territory of the European Union.
To achieve this, the EUIPO works closely with the national intellectual property offices of the various EU member states, as well as with the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) and the European Commission.
In this logic of harmonization of the law, the EUIPO website has a tab that brings together all the texts applicable to trademarks and registered designs of the European Union.
What is the objective?
The objective of the EUIPO is to provide uniform protection for trademarks and designs in the European Union.
In order to meet this objective, the EUIPO proposes a system that allows one to benefit from a single intellectual property title, valid in all EU Member States, through a single filing, for a European Union trademark or a registered European Union design.
The EU trademark registration process before the EUIPO
Once an EU trademark application has been filed with the EUIPO, it will undergo various stages before being registered:
- An examination period: the Office verifies the conditions of form, the classes and the wording of the product(s) and/or service(s ) as well as the conformity of the mark with the absolute grounds for refusal (contravention of public policy, misleading mark, etc.);
- The publication of the trademark application: this publication opens a period of 3 months to file an opposition against the application;
- Opposition period during which any third party may act against the registration provided that a risk of confusion with the prior right invoked is demonstrated;
- Registration of the trademark: if no opposition has been filed and no notification of irregularity has been issued by the Office, the trademark is registered.
Once registered, the trademark is protected for 10 years, renewable indefinitely.
The EUIPO may also notify the owner of the registered trademark of similar trademark applications for information purposes only.
Unlike some countries (such as China), the EUIPO does not conduct a search of existing prior rights when examining a trademark application.
The process of registering EU designs before the EUIPO
Like the EU trademark application, when a design application has been filed with the EUIPO, it will also be subject to examination.
The Office will thus verify the formal requirements as well as some of the substantive requirements, before granting the registration.
Once the design is registered, it is protected for five years, renewable up to a maximum protection period of 25 years.
Furthermore, a registered EU design can always be declared invalid after registration (if it cannot be declared invalid during the registration process).
Update on the European Union Member States
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
The Bouchara firm assists you in particular in :
- The formalities for filing your intellectual property assets with the EUIPO;
- Responses to Notices of Irregularity ;
- Opposition and Invalidity Proceedings for Trademarks and Designs before the EUIPO;
- Protection and defense of your intellectual property rights before the Offices(INPI, EUIPO,
etc…) and the Courts(infringement action, seizureprocedure, unfair competition action etc…).