Amendments introduced to the Czech Trademark Law Act

The Czech Republic has recently amended its Trademark law in order to transpose the EU directive of 16 December 2015 (2015/2436 UE) and integrate these legal provisions into its legislative system. The legal provisions came into force on 1 January 2019.

Various amendments have been made to the Czech law, the main ones are discussed below.

The requirement of graphic representation of the trademark has been removed. It is now possible to register a trademark provided that it can be represented by any existing technological means such as MP3 files. Hence, in addition to the registration of a word trademark, semi-figurative trademark or figurative trademark, it is now possible to register a sound trademark, a position trademark, a shape trademark, a colour trademark, a movement trademark, or a hologram trademark, for example.

Moreover, it is no longer possible to register a trademark for goods and services whose title is too broad, for example by using a title from the Nice classification or by using a term that is too general.

In addition, the Czech trademark office previously carried out a search among prior trademarks registered for identical goods or services. From now on, it is no longer the case. Henceforth, it is now up to the trademark owner to set up a monitoring for its trademarks and to file an opposition within the time limit.

Furthermore, amendments regarding the opposition proceeding have also been introduced.  The possibility to request the opponent to provide proof of use in opposition proceedings has been introduced for trademarks that have been registered for more than 5 years. The applicant has a period of two months from the notification of the opposition in order to make such a request. The evidence must be filed by the opponent within 4 months from the request of proof of use.

Finally, changes relating to counterfeiting have also been introduced with this reform in order to provide better protection against counterfeiting. For instance, the owner of prior trademark rights can prevent importation of goods whose main characteristics resemble his prior trademarks before these products are released for free circulation in Czech Republic.

Trademark law in the European Union is becoming increasingly uniform. However, there are still some specific features that need to be taken into account. Dreyfus is a specialist in trademark protection and defense strategy in the European Union. Our IP boutique law firm can develop a strategy tailored to your needs.