New report on the “3-for-1” approach in the world of trademarks

The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (The UK IPO) has published the report “Cluttering and Non-Use of Trade Marks in Europe”, which brings up the issue of too many trademarks being registered and not used.

The UK’s IPO was keen to better understand the extent of cluttering within the UK and European register, and therefore commissioned the report. Their goal was to start a debate on the occurrence of trademarks that are partially or wholly unused by their owners.

The report points out that the CTM Regulation provides no basis for OHIM to require any declaration or evidence of actual use from an applicant, nor of intent to make such use. This leads to that there is no formal reason not to file broad lists of goods/services in each class claimed in a CTM application, nor any financial reason to limit the number of classes claimed. What is demanded by the CTM Regulation is proof of use when the owner of an older trademark (registration is older than five years) is exercising its right to object to a younger trademark.