Croatia is thereby included in every demand for a Community trademark or model.
Since Community trademarks(1) and models(2) were put in place, it is now possible to protect industrial property rights throughout the European Union territory thanks to a single registration procedure.
Community trademarks and models registered or filed before July 1st 2013 will automatically be extended free of charge to Croatia without any further formalities or costs.
Concerning potential problems that may arise between national and European rights holders, the Trade Mark Office has adopted the following temporary measures:
- A degree of co-existence with existing rights: holders of Community trademarks or models filed or registered before July 1st 2013 cannot have their rights nullified in Croatia, even if seniority is proven in that country.
- A point of mitigation: A Community trademark or model filed or registered between January 1st and June 30th 2013 may be subject to opposition based on earlier Croatian rights(3).
- A measure of prohibition: The holder of a Croatian trademark does not have the right to have a Community mark or model nullified, but may only obtain an exploitation ban on their territory.
This mechanism is framed by the notion of good faith. For example, a request for opposition or invalidation filed by the holder of an existing title in Croatia is only possible on condition that the rights claimed were acquired in good faith! In this way the OHMI is attempting to curb the practice of fraudulent registrations, a practice which often occurs in cases of transitory rights.
This system is advantageous for all Community trademark or model holders in the sense that it offers automatic and free protection in the new Member States of the European Union. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity!
Our firm is at your service to guide you on your registration strategies and advise you appropriately.
(1) Regulation of Community Trademarks (CT) no 40/94 adopted on March 15 1994 and EU regulation no 2868/95, providing application procedures for CT regulation.
(2) EU Council regulation no 6/2002 of December 12th 2001 on Community designs and models.
(3) Article 165§3 of the Register of EU Community Trademarks