Similarly, on account of its unitary character, an EU Trademark may only be refused for all EU countries. However, the EU trademark can then be converted into a national trademark registration, acquire protection for the territory of a particular country and at the same time keep the filing date of EU TM application. For instance, conversion of European Union trademark into application for a Bulgarian Trademark Registration is possible if it is duly filed in Bulgarian language at the Bulgarian Patent Office within the prescribed deadlines upon refusal.
WHO CAN FILE EU TRADEMARK APPLICATION?
European Union trademarks’ procedure is an open filing trademark system, which means that any person in the world may file a European Trademark application, irrespective of whether he is a national of or has his residence or place of business in a country member of the EU. However, if the EUTM applicant does not have his place of business, a real and effective establishment or his domicile in the European Economic Area, he must appoint European Trademark Attorney for all proceedings before EUIPO except for the filing of the EUTM application. The European Economic Area (EEA) is made up of the 28 Member States of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
WHAT CAN BE PROTECTED AS EU TRADEMARK?
European Trademarks are registered for any signs, in particular words, including personal names, or designs, letters, numerals, colours, the shape of goods or of the packaging of goods, or sounds, provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings; and the representations of which signs can determine the clear and precise subject matter of the protection afforded to its proprietor. The EU TM is always registered in relation to particular goods and/or services.
TERM OF PROTECTION OF EUTM
The term of validity of a European Union Trademark is 10 years as from the date of filing of the European Trademark application, provided the trademark renewals or maintenance fees are paid consistently.
Protection of signs in all EU countries can be derived from two possible ways, either by filing a direct application for European Union Trademark Registration, or by application for International (IR) Trademark Registration designating EU. No matter which routes are taken, assistance, advice and close collaboration with a Qualified European Trademark Attorney is highly recommended and in some cases, as stated above, even obligatory.