OHIM starts with ‘fast track’ processing of the Community trade mark applications and tightens policy on payments
From 24 November 2014 there will be a ‘fast track’ option for Community trade marks (CTMs). Until now, the ‘fast track’ route was only available for Community Designs and allowed their registration within two working days, provided certain conditions were met.
OHIM promises that with the ‘fast track’ procedure, CTM applications will be published in half the time or less (currently 8-11 weeks after payment), without additional charge. There are numerous requirements for CTM applications to qualify for the ‘fast track’ procedure, e.g. the applications can only cover pre-validated goods and services from OHIM’s harmonised database (TMView) and the application fee has to be paid at the time of filing or immediately afterwards. OHIM will provide more details on further requirements soon. It is expected that CTM applications that fulfil such conditions could be examined faster and would need less administrative attention.
For users, a five-step application form with mandatory fields and default options will be available. The form will alert users as to whether their application is on ‘fast track’ or not. If any ‘fast track’ conditions are flagged as not fulfilled, the form will allow users to make the required corrections or just proceed with the regular application. Despite being initially accepted, the application can still drop out of the ‘fast track’ when other issues arise, such as deficiencies because of absolute grounds or a request for limitation of goods and services.
Also as of 24 November 2014, OHIM will start examining CTM applications only after the receipt of the application fee. With 4% of historical CTM applications examined, but not paid for, OHIM aims to increase efficiency by avoiding examining files that ultimately will never be paid for. For users, this means that it will be no longer possible to save the application fee by withdrawing CTM applications after a negative absolute grounds check, but still before the payment of the application fee.