Having been announced back in November’s Alicante News, details were published on 15 April in this Common Communication of the new European trade mark Common Practice as regards black and white trade marks, and how they are to be compared to colour versions of the same. In this Kat’s view, this is a highly significant change in practice that will affect many trade mark owners, perhaps adversely. Its aim is to ensure common trade mark practice throughout Europe, but as you’ll see below there’s something of a bull in a china shop to how supposed consistency is being achieved. What follows is an explanation of what is and isn’t changing, where it is changing, when and in respect of what. In short, practice is changing some places, where the scope of protection a black and white mark provides will be significantly less than it used to be. Elsewhere it won’t be changing either because the Member State isn’t interested or it can’t legally change.
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