The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the European Union trade mark office, has announced the introduction of a new accelerated procedure for handling Community Trade Mark (CTM) applications. ‘Fast Track’ guarantees that the early stages of the Community Trade Mark (CTM) application process will be dealt with quickly by providing for the expedited examination and publication of applications (in just half the time of regular applications, according to OHIM).
Fast Track is free of charge. An application will be automatically allocated to the track provided it meets certain conditions listed on OHIM’s website. Fast Track came into operation on November 24, 2014. Overall, it is good news for trade mark applicants who could benefit from obtaining EU-wide trade mark protection more quickly. Fast Track is, however, unlikely to make a difference in the case of more complex, opposed applications.
The Community Trade Mark (CTM) system offers trademark owners a unified system of protection throughout the European Union (EU) with the filing of a single application. If successful, this one application results in a CTM registration that is recognized in all countries of the EU. The countries covered by a CTM registration are Austria, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.