June 1, 2012
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GREECE: New Trademark Law Comes into Force
On April 11, 2012, a new trademark law (Law No. 4072/2012) came into force in Greece. The new law, which will become fully effective on October 11, 2012, is intended to renovate the trademark system and further harmonize Greek trademark practice with that of the European Union.
Several changes, such as mandatory electronic filing, the possibility of online filing and a fully computerized system, will be adopted by the Greek Trademark Office. These improvements are designed to facilitate and expedite procedures and provide a cost-effective system from application to registration. Upon launch of the electronic register, applicants, trademark owners and third parties will be able to monitor online the status of trademarks and obtain information regarding changes as to ownership, recorded licenses, renewals, etc.
The responsibility for examining applications is transferred from the Administrative Trademark Committee to the examiner. If no significant objections are raised, this will expedite the registration procedure. In case of total or partial rejection, the applicant is given the opportunity to pursue recourse before the Committee before turning to the administrative courts.
With the elimination of the requirement of the Trademark Committee’s approval for the recordal of a license and the disallowance of submission of letters of consent with binding effect at any instance of examination, the new law streamlines procedures.
In cases where the trademark owner fails to observe a time limit set by the Trademark Office or the Trademark Committee despite taking all due care required by the circumstances, the restoration of the owner’s rights in the trademark will now be possible.
Opposition procedures are also changing. The opposition deadline is shortened to three months from the date of the Trademark Office website’s publication of the examiner’s decision accepting the trademark application. In addition, the owner of the contested mark now has the option of requesting, at the time of the examination of the opposition, that the opposing party furnish proof of genuine use of the opposing mark during the five years preceding the publication of the application for the contested mark for the goods or services it covers and on which the opposition is based.
Finally, the new law introduces the “Hellenic” trademark, which will be registered with WIPO and owned by the Greek State. The right to use the mark will be conferred on interested parties under certain conditions. The mark will indicate that the goods and services bearing it have a Greek origin.
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
© 2012 International Trademark Association