Romania Approves Amendments to Law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications

Jul 21 2009 - 14:49

On July 8, 2009, the Romanian government approved the Bill of Amendments to the Law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications.

The purpose of the bill is to incorporate relevant European Union legal intellectual property provisions that were previously not expressly stated in the national legislation of Romania.

The bill introduces important changes in terminology, registration procedure for national applications, and it ensures the existence of a legal framework for the prosecution of European Union community trademarks.

The new legal provisions expand the category of signs that can be registered as trademarks by introducing the category of “holograms” and the category of “sound marks.”

The bill also further explains the grounds on which a trademark application can be rejected. For example, the application would be rejected if it is identical or similar to a prior community registration, even if it is filed for the goods and services that are different from the goods and services of the prior mark. It would be rejected if the prior mark has a reputation at the community level, and if the use of the applicant’s mark would take unfair advantage of the distinctive character or the reputation of the prior mark.

The most important change in the registration procedure for national applications is the following: the PTO can only carry out the examination on absolute grounds.

The bill stipulates that applications be published in the online database no later than seven days following the application date. Any interested party can submit observations on absolute grounds, and file an opposition on relative grounds no later than two months following the publication date.

Applications for community trademarks need to be forwarded to the OHIM no later than two weeks following the filing date with the Romanian PTO.

The bill also explicitly states that the Bucharest Tribunal can try cases that involve community trademarks. This was previously stipulated only in the European Union’s legislation, but not in the national legislation of Romania.

The bill is now due to enter into further parliamentary procedure.

For more information, please contact Roxana Sârghi in our Romania Office.

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