HomeNews & EventsImplementation of the EU Directives in Italy, Benelux, Croatia, Poland and Hungary
April 24, 2019

Implementation of the EU Directives in Italy, Benelux, Croatia, Poland and Hungary

The beginning of 2019 has marked significant changes to the intellectual property laws of Italy, Croatia, Poland, Hungary and the Benelux Union. The countries have implemented significant legislative changes in line with EU directives No. 2015/2436 and No. 2015/2424, which have facilitated the successful harmonisation of legislation throughout the EU member states.

The revised definition given to a trademark in all of the aforementioned EU member states abolishes the previous requirement for graphical representation. Subsequently, the registration of motions, patterns, colours, multimedia, shapes, positions, sounds and holograms is now possible. In addition, any mark that does not adhere to these descriptions may still be registered provided that the representation of said mark is portrayed in a clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable, and objective manner.

Hungary implemented the new legislation on January 1, 2019, following its passing by Parliament on October 30, 2018. The changes include a revised trademark fee structure and more detailed grounds for refusal. The amended grounds set a baseline for refusal of signs that are “identical and similar to prior non-registered trademarks.” As such, trademark applicants must ensure that pre-filing searches are thorough to avoid the risk of refusal. The legislative amendments also define formal requirements for other IP protection types, such as patents, designs and utility models. In addition, it outlines the date of commencement for the novelty grace period of international applications.

Croatia amended their trademark legislation in a similar way as of February 15, 2019. Henceforth, applicants will benefit from the abolition of the graphical representation requirement, as well as more detailed regulations regarding collective and guarantee marks. Furthermore, geographical indications and similar marks will now have absolute grounds for refusal.

The Benelux Intellectual Property Office (BOIP), the Intellectual Property Offices of Italy (UIBM) and Poland (PPO) have made similar legislative amendments, also allowing for non-traditional representation and confirming absolute grounds for refusal.

In addition to these amendments, Italy has also implemented a fast track procedure for trademark applications. This fast track procedure is available for applications filed after February 26, 2019, and allows trademarks to be published in the bulletin within 7 days from the filing date.


Author: Danielle Carvey