Authors: Violeta Sutkienė, Associated Partner, Head of Trademark and Design Unit at Metida; Monika Juškaitė, Trademark Consultant at Metida
Assessing the tasks completed and the results achieved is one of the best ways to identify objectives and to start new works in the new year. We are pleased that the number of trademark applications was growing in 2014 just as in previous years.
In 2014, the applicants were particularly active and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) received 117,451 applications for the registration of trademarks including 100,269 applications for Community trademarks and 17,182 applications for international trademarks. Compared to 2013, the total number of trademark applications filed to OHIM grew almost 3%. While nearly 120,000 applications for trademark registration were filed to OHIM in recent years, 93% of them (109,464) were published and 88% (103,782) were registered successfully. An electronic application filing system (e-filing) was the most popular way to file a trademark application, with 96% of the applications filed by this method.
Both applicants seeking to register new trademarks and owners of existing trademarks were very active in 2014. The latter submitted to OHIM 28,190 applications for renewal of trademarks’ registration.
While the number of applications filed to OHIM has increased during the year, there has been a marked reduction of trademark opposition cases: just over 15,000 compared with 17,000 in 2013 (a decrease of nearly 10%).
On 24 November 2014, a new fast-track system of application filing was introduced by OHIM, as a result of which the length of the trademark registration procedure has been halved. The efficiency and effectiveness of the new application filing system is demonstrated by the fact that the first trademarks the registration of which was applied for were published within a very short time – just three days after the application date. While the fast-track system was introduced at the end of November, during this month, i. e. one week, 521 applications was filed using the system; in December, the number reached 2,125, which is a four-fold increase.
In 2014, Germany was leading in terms of the number of applications filed to OHIM (18,702), closely followed by the United States of America (14,344) and the United Kingdom (11,779). It should be noted that applicants from Asian countries are keenly trying to enter the ‘market’ for Community trademarks. China has been most active, with as many as 2,710 applications filed in recent year. Lithuania is not among the leading countries but its applicants, seeking to establish themselves in the Community, have submitted 225 applications to OHIM. While the number of Lithuania‘s applications can be considered relatively small both statistically and in terms of the total number of applications filed by all the countries, Lithuania compares to some much larger states such as Croatia or Latvia that have filed, respectively, much less applications.
Thus the popularity of Community trademark is growing not only among the large states or the EU Member States but also among the applicants from Asian countries. The introduction of a new faster and more convenient system for the filing of trademark applications by OHIM has resulted in both simplification of the procedure for the registration of Community trademarks and speeding up of the registration process itself, which can lead to a significant growth in the numbers of the registered Community trademarks in the future.