How Certain is Trademark Protection, Really?
Abstract: Since its foundation, one of the main purposes of the European Union has been to create a single market where goods and services, as well as people, can move freely between Member States without internal borders nor other regulatory obstacles. Common intellectual property legislation is necessary as most goods and services indeed rely on intellectual property. This is particularly true for trade marks since their aim is to communicate the origin of the product to the consumer. The maintenance of a EUTM should therefore be tremendously important for proprietors of a registered mark, as they are a vital asset for most companies, and a cancellation of a EUTM therefore result in devastating consequences for a company. The focus of this thesis is therefore to analyse situations where registered marks have lost protection, e.g. been cancelled, in order to explore how such loss of protection and cancellations can be avoided. This thesis therefore seeks to answer how, and to what extent, registered EUTMs is cancelled. This is done through addressing the concepts of genuine use, the concept of ‘generic’ but also through analyzing how registrations and invalidity claims may coexist to the extent they do. Further, the thesis elaborates on the correlation between non-traditional trade marks and EUTM cancellations. Lastly, and of importance for the present situation in the EU, the question of cancellations resulting from the enlargement or reduction of the Union is analysed including the ramifications of these scenarios.
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