EU member states have recently debated the cost of official fees for protecting Community trade marks.
The current cost of official fees payable to OHIM – the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, otherwise known as the Community Trade Marks Office is a filing fee of €900, which can be reduced by €150 for online filing, and a final registration fee of €850. This brings the official fee cost of a typical Community trade mark application with up to 3 classes of goods and services to total of €1,750.
However, in addition to this are added European trade Mark Attorney fees. Traditionally, trade mark attorney fees for a straightforward case have been in the same order as the official fee, so that the total cost of registering a typical Community trade mark application including official fees and attorney fees is of the order of €3,500 + VAT.
Around 1 in 10 cases encounter an opposition from a third party, which can increase the cost by anything up to another €10,000 - €15,000, if the applicant wishes to continue with the application in the face of the opposition. Otherwise, the applicant can simply abandon the application at the first sign of an opposition, which involves writing off the cost of the application so far – typically around € 2,500 but which avoids incurring any further costs.
For comparison, the cost of the equivalent overall national procedure – a UK trade mark application for UK businesses, assuming no oppositions are filed, is around €2,000 plus VAT including the UK Trade Marks Registry official fees of £200 plus £100 in extra class fees for a 3 class application, and the remainder being the attorney fee. Not surprisingly, most clients opt for a Community trade mark application instead of the alternative of an individual UK national trade mark, and the trend is towards a relatively declining proportion of UK national applications compared to Community applications.
Recently, the EU have been debating the total official fee cost for a Community trade mark application of around €1,000 - a reduction of around €750, which will put further pressure on the already flagging national trade mark system of each EU member state. The reduced costs are good news for trade mark applicants, with the cost of EU wide trade mark protection reducing year on year. Additionally, when new member states join the EU, those countries are included in existing Community trade mark registrations with no extra cost to the holder.
For further information on filing Community trade mark applications, contact any one of our European Trade Mark Attorneys.
Article Published February 9, 2009