Community trademarks and design rights extended to Croatia

On 1 July 2013, Croatia joined the European Union (EU) as its 28th Member State. From an Intellectual Property perspective, the accession has meant further growth in the geographical scope of EU trademarks and designs.

The Community Trade Mark (CTM) system is unitary in nature, so each registration affords its proprietor rights that prevent third parties in any part of European Community territory from using similar signs for related goods/services. This protection has automatically been extended to include Croatia, without the need for holders or applicants of CTM and Community Designs (CD) rights to take any action.

 
While CTMs filed prior to 1 January 2013 cannot be rejected on absolute grounds for objections related to Croatia having joined, the drawback of the extension of CTM territory is that where “earlier” conflicting national rights exist in Croatia, CTMs may be challenged in this region, provided the national mark was acquired in good faith and applied for prior to the CTM.

The material contained in this article is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Appropriate legal advice should be sought for specific circumstances and before action is taken.

© , July 2013

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Stuart Miller - Managing Partner

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