Trade mark seniority
When looking to register a trade mark, there are a number of elements that could potentially impact you or could be beneficial to you.
One of these is the system of trade mark seniority.
Trade mark seniority allows an applicant for an EU trade mark to consolidate any earlier national trade mark rights into its EU trade mark application, so as long as the mark and its classes are identical.
If a valid seniority claim is granted, it would allow you as a EU trade mark owner to eventually abandon your national rights without any loss to the length of your trade mark protection, so as long as your EU trade mark remains live.
A seniority claim will not affect the EU trade mark itself but allows the owner to keep the national right protection under the umbrella of the EU right, removing the need to renew them.
A seniority claim can be made during EU application, or within two months of the application.
This has to be done to the EU Intellectual Property Office who require information about the mark, the country of the earlier mark, the owner, the application and registration date as well as the goods or services covered by the mark. This will allow them to determine if a successful claim has been made.
Not only does this process allow you to reduce the amount of mark registrations you need to maintain but it will allow save you the cost of renewing any national applications you have.
For more information, or to kick-start the process, contact Jane at The Trademarkroom.
By Ellis Sweetenham