On Thursday, 6 February, during the final reading the Saeima supported the new law “Trade Marks Law”, developed by the Ministry of Justice, the purpose of which is to ensure legal protection for the right to a trade mark, certification mark and indications of geographical origin. The new law regulates legal relations in the area of registration of trade marks, as well as use and protection of trade marks and indications of geographic origin.
Why the new law was developed?
The law was developed in order to enforce the Directive (EU) 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and of the Council to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks into the national regulation. It is important that a uniform and effective legal protection works in the internal market of the European Union, mitigating unfair competition by using or imitating a trade mark not being owned, as well as increasing the guarantees of consumers that the product purchased by them is not a falsification, because the purpose of the trade mark is to guarantee to consumers or users the identity of origin of the product or service marked with the trade mark, enabling to differ the product or service from other products and services.
What does the new law provide?
- In comparison with the current regulation in the Law On Trade Marks and Indications of Geographical Origin, the owner of a registered trade mark will further on have the right not to permit importing of false goods from third countries also in the case, if they are not launched on the free market, unless the declarant of goods proves that the owner of the trade mark does not have the right to prohibit to launch the goods on the market in the destination country thereof.
- The new law determines the basic principles for protection of trade marks, what designations may form the trade mark, provide cases, when registration of a trade mark is denied or considered as void, including the so called absolute and relative basis, protection of broadly known trade marks and trade marks with reputation, as well as other restrictions for recognition of the registration as void.
- In comparison with the previous regulation, the range of designations, which may form trade marks, is increased, namely, wordy meaning, figural sign, spatial sign, placement sign, ornament sign, colour sign, sound sign, movement sign, multi-environmental sign and holographic sign.
- Further on, owners of trade marks could be not only natural and legal persons, but also unions of persons, if they are able to acquire the right and undertake obligations, including to enter into transactions and to be a plaintiff and a defendant at a court.
- The new law stipulates that the right to trade mark means exceptional property rights, in the legal regime being equal to the movable property for the purpose of the Civil Law, therefore it will be possible to alienate, pledge them and otherwise include them in the private law turnover. Besides, the provisions for alienation and the rights of use of pre-emptive rights are stipulated.
- The law determines also the civil liability for violation of the right to trade mark, determining that an owner or a licensor of the trade mark, upon receipt of a permit from the owner of the trade mark, can bring a claim to the court regarding elimination of the violation of the right to trade mark, except cases, when the owner of the trade mark has failed to reply to the request of the exceptional licensor to raise a claim to the court. The limitation period for raising such claims shall be three years and cases are determined, when the potential plaintiff is not entitled to raise such a claim due to reconciliation.
When the law will come into force?
The Trade Marks Law will come into force according to the general procedure.