Trade Marks Designs

Croatia Joins the European Union – What does this mean for Community Trade Marks and Designs?

September 24, 2013

Croatia joined the European Union on 1st July 2013, bringing the total number of Member States of the EU to 28. What does this mean for existing Community trade marks and designs, and also existing national Croatian rights.

A Community trade mark covers all Member States of the European Union within a single registration. Similarly, Community registered designs and unregistered Community designs cover all Member States of the EU. As of 1st July 2013, Community trade marks and Community designs (both registered and unregistered) automatically extended to Croatia without the need to pay additional fees or to complete formalities. This means that if you own any Community trade marks or Community designs, you now have protection in Croatia by virtue of these rights. Although extension of existing Community trade marks and Community designs to Croatia is automatic, the right to use such trade marks and designs in Croatia will depend upon the existence of prior national rights in the territory. As an example, owners of Community trade marks and Community registered designs cannot enforce their rights against third parties in connection with activities which occurred in Croatia before its accession to the EU on 1st July 2013. This means that if a company Red Limited owns a Community trade mark dated 1st January 2010 and a company Yellow Limited has been using the identical mark in Croatia since 2011, although Red Limited’s Community trade mark will now automatically extend to Croatia, Red Limited will not be able to enforce its Community trade mark against Yellow Limited, as Yellow Limited’s trade mark rights existed in Croatia prior to Croatia’s accession to the EU. The Community trade mark system and the Community registered design system offer cost-effective options of securing registered rights in all Member States of the EU within a single registration. The benefits of these intellectual property rights increase as new members join the EU. If you have any questions regarding Community trade marks and Community designs, please get in touch with your usual trade mark contact at Swindell and Pearson, or Katy Fuggle at [email protected].

Swindell & Pearson has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 130 years. With its head office in Derby, the firm also has offices in Stoke, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Sheffield and Burton. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you with any intellectual property requirements please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.