February 26, 2019

Confusingly similar trademarks no longer refused by the Czech IPO

The Intellectual Property Office of the Czech Republic has announced important changes to the trademark law. The amendments came into force as of January 1, 2019, and incorporate the necessary legislation in line with the EU Directive.

One of the most significant novelties introduced in the Czech trademark legislation will affect trademark applicants and owners of already registered trademarks. The intellectual property office will no longer refuse trademark applications based on the potential interference with a previously registered mark.  From now on, trademarks are published in the bulletin for a 3 month opposition period. If no successful challenges are made in this time, the mark is registered regardless of conflicting signs in existence. This now places responsibility on the applicants as well as current trademark right holders to monitor both already registered similar marks and those newly published for opposition. The amendments arguably allow for more flexibility of a trademark applicant; however, the bulk of work connected with the similarity search and assessment previously carried out by the Office now falls upon the applicant.

Among other recent amendments implemented in line with the EU Directive is the introduction of non-conventional trademarks. As from the enactment of the new legislation, the following trademarks will be eligible for registration: motion, pattern, colour, multimedia, shape, position, sound and hologram. In addition, any marks that do not adhere to the aforementioned descriptions may still be registered so long as the representation of said mark is portrayed in a clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable, and objective manner.

Furthermore, a certification mark has been introduced, with the intention of confirming that the goods or services protected by the mark are compliant with defined standards.

These significant revisions to the trademark law of the Czech Republic signify the EU’s progression as to the harmonisation of the intellectual property laws of its member states.

Author: Lynda Miller