Ohim – more detail please in your classifications

Today, 25 November 2013, sees the introduction of a further classification policy change for the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Ohim) for European trade mark applications as a result of the IP TRANSLATOR case. In order to avoid delays and unnecessary costs, applicants and advisors need to be up to speed on the changes.

The full guide can be found at http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/resource/documents/CTM/legalReferences/manual/part_b_3_classification.pdf but thought to be of most significance, is the fact that certain broad terms included in class headings under the Nice classification system, will no longer be acceptable without further clarification and specification.  Examples include the terms “machines” in class 7, “repair” and “installation services” in class 37. Furthermore Ohim will no longer accept broad categorisation of the term “goods”, such as “goods of common metal” in class 6, “goods made of paper and cardboard” in class 16 or “leather and imitations of leather” in class 18, but will require better clarification. Anything listed under class 20 will require better particularisation than the class heading.

There have been many changes in this area in recent times with significant ramifications. The trade mark team at Barker Brettell have always taken a practical approach to classification issues and the specification of goods and services of interest that tries to ensure that client’s interests are detailed in a way that provides robust protection whilst trying to avoid uncertainty, which is aligned with the changes that have been and continue to be introduced by Ohim. Better transparency in descriptions should be a benefit to all using, and ultimately relying, on the European Community system.

If you have any concerns as to how these recent changes impacts on your existing registrations, please do not hesitate to contact Tracy Arch or your usual trade mark attorney.