OHIM – Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market, is the official trademark registry for the registration of trademarks within the EU. OHIM enables the registration of a mark in all 27 EU member states through one single application. Once a mark is registered through OHIM, it is thereafter referred to as a CTM, or community trademark. EU registration can be relatively complex to understand and so it is advised to seek the specialist services of a professional consultancy firm.
CTM – Community Trademark explained
A community trademark is basically a European trademark as it is legally protected across all 27 EU member states. CTM’s can only be registered by applying with the appropriate application form to OHIM.
Once a CTM is registered, the owner of the mark is given a set of exclusive rights to the ownership and use of the trademark across the European Union, thus preventing anyone from using the same or similar marks in any EU member state. A CTM enables the owner to increase their brand identity and customer loyalty throughout the European Union, with legal protection given to the owner of the registered mark.
In order to register your mark with OHIM as a community trademark, it must first satisfy a number of requirements as stipulated by OHIM. One of the main provisions to satisfy is that the mark must be available, unique and distinctive. To ascertain if your trademark meets the requirements of availability and uniqueness, the owner must obtain search services from a professional consultancy firm, to conduct a search of OHIM’s database to ensure the mark is valid to register. Once the search establishes the mark is available for registration, the application form and appropriate fee can be submitted to OHIM.
A community trademark can be in the form of a;
- Manufacturers marks
- Mark for goods
- Service mark
- Collective trademark
All community trademarks must be registered in accordance with the CTM regulation provisions and the mark must be used commercially in compliance with EU trademark laws and registration standards. It should be noted however that if you seek trademark registration in only two or three EU member states, registration with those country’s national intellectual property offices, may be a more favorable process, than registering with OHIM.
For information on how Starting Business can assist you with your community trademark, view our EU Trademark service page.