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Grant of the first Community Trademarks

19 November 1997

Out of 63 thousand trademark applications four succeeded the filing procedure.
The EEC trademark Association (ECTA), the International Association for Industrial Property Protection (AIPPI), the Trademark International Association (INTA), and an MA Programme at the University of Alicante (Spain - UAMI seat) have been assigned the first certificates of successful registration as community trademark of their logo.
The new trademark registration procedure allowing to obtain a trademark with community validity (i.e. for all EEC countries) started on April 1996, and is now proving very successful. As a matter of fact, in terms of filings, it has overcome the best and rosiest of forecasts.
The advantages of this new registration system seem obvious: the reduction of registration fees if compared with possible alternatives, relative speed in the registration procedure, the overcoming of territorial competence and consequently of all the limits this entails.
Should drawbacks arise, at present they cannot be identified.
Nobody can guarantee that the time necessary for the grant of a community trademark will not vary or be reduced, as the objectives of UAMI express.
Although now costs are not high, there could be an increase should the expenses met for an opposition be high.
The opposition procedure that can be started against the application for a community trademark registration results to be unclear, not as far as its procedure is concerned, but for the effects it may engender.
Furthermore, lawsuits relative to community trademarks will take place before specific courts present in the different countries belonging to the Union. Yet, nobody has set specific rules to guarantee uniformity in judgement among the judges of the different countries.
Notwithstanding all these interrogatives, that cannot currently be adequately answered, figures seem to confirm the success of the initiative.
The applications filed by non-European countries are more than 26 thousand, whereas the applications filed by EEC-countries are almost 37 thousand.
The United States, with approximately 18 thousand applications, represent the country that has the highest number of registrations, followed by Germany (about 10 thousand) and the United Kingdom (about 8 thousand).
Spain and Italy are contending with one another for the fourth position on this list, since they have filed about 3,700 applications, respectively.

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