November 28, 2018
The status of trademark holders and applicants will improve in many ways as the new law enters into force at the beginning of next year. Kolster's Trademark Director is pleased with the reform that provides several improvements to the status and legal protection of trademark holders and applicants.
The long-prepared reform of the Finnish Trademarks Act and the associated legislation has been introduced to the Parliament (HE 201/2018), with the overall reform coming into force during spring 2019.
The purpose of the reform is, in particular, to unify the local legislation of the EU member states. In Finland, this results in that the classifications of trademarks, for example, needs to be specified to be in accordance with the EU practise. The so-called class headings are no longer sufficient, but trademark holders and applicants have the obligation to specify the goods and services literally that they want to include within the scope of protection of the trademark.
It has been considered that the use of a class heading provides an unreasonably wide scope of protection for a trademark that is unlikely to be ever used as a business identifier for all those potentially thousands of goods and services that one class heading may cover. The requirement for preciseness clarifies the trademark register and interpretation of protection.
The law reform also makes clearer the relation between a company name and trademark in cases where the general line of business registration of a company becomes an obstacle to a trademark registration.
Partial annulment of a company name is a major improvement to the status of a trademark applicant. A company name that has become an obstacle to a trademark application may be partially cancelled for an unused line of business, which overlaps the goods or services that the application covers.
An additional improvement is also the option for an administrative cancellation process of a trademark. The cancellation process of trademark registrations is transferred from the Market Court to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office as an administrative process, which speeds up the process and makes it more cost-effective.
The removal of the requirement for graphical representability for a trademark opens doors to registrations of totally new kinds of trademarks. For example, the registration of holograms, multimedia marks and patterns as trademarks is facilitated. In the near future we will see completely new kinds of trademark types deviating from the conventional trademarks.
The more detailed practical effects of the reform for trademark holders ─ in particular the requirement for a more specific classification ─ will be decided later on.
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