European Union Certification Marks

Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The staff at Franks & Co were saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the rest of the Royal Family.

The United Kingdom is now officially in a period of mourning until after the Queen’s state funeral which is to be held on Monday 19 September. Normal day-to-day business will continue throughout this period.

The UK government has declared the day of the funeral to be a national Bank Holiday, so the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office will be closed on Monday 19 September.

The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office’s official guidance on bank holidays is given below:

The office is deemed to be closed on weekends, Good Friday, Christmas Day and all England and Wales bank holidays for all types of business, except for the filing of new applications not claiming priority. If documents are filed for these types of business at times when the office is deemed to be closed, they will receive an official filing date of the next working day.

Any official time period which expires on a weekend or any other day on which the office is closed is extended to the next working day.

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Amendments to Regulation No. 207/2009 on the European Union Trade Mark ('EUTM') took effect as of 01 October 2017, including notably the introduction of a certification mark at the EU level under Articles 74a to 74k.

EU flag against a blue sky backdrop

Under these new provisions, any natural or legal person, including institutions, authorities and bodies governed by public law, may apply for a certification mark, which is defined by Article 83 of Regulation No. 1001/2017 on the EUTM as: “an EU trade mark which is described as such when the mark is applied for and is capable of distinguishing goods or services which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics, with the exception of geographical origin, from goods and services which are not so certified”.

A certification mark serves to guarantee specific characteristics of the goods and/or services to which the mark is applied, against standards set out in the certification mark holder’s own regulations describing these specific characteristics and the holder’s certification process, and governing the use of the mark.

Importantly, the certification mark holder cannot be a person carrying out a business involving the supply of the certified goods and/or services. By way of example, a vacuum cleaner manufacturer could not apply for a certification mark guaranteeing characteristics of power consumption and/or suction level of its own vacuum cleaners. But a commercial or professional association of vacuum cleaner manufacturers could do so, in respect of the respective vacuum cleaners of its members.

Practically, the holder’s own regulations must be filed within two months of making application for a certification mark and must specify the list of goods and/or services for which the certification mark is applied, the characteristics of the goods and/or services which the mark certifies, how the certifying body assesses the characteristics and supervises use of the mark, the conditions of use of the mark, including applicable fees and sanctions, and persons authorised to use the mark.

Certification marks are a legal novelty at the EU level, but some EU Member States have long made certification marks available under national trade mark law, including the United Kingdom. Franks & Co has extensive and practical experience of assisting applicants with drafting regulations for certification marks, and applying for and obtaining registration of certification marks in the UK. This experience is directly transferrable to the new EU procedure.

Please contact Stéphane Ambrosini if you wish to obtain more information about the new EU certification mark and how Franks & Co may assist your UK or EU requirements in that regard.

Article Published October 3, 2017