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European Community (Trade Marks)

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is currently satisfied with the present EEC regulations governing the registration of trade marks in the EEC; if he considers that adequate protection is afforded to British companies; and whether methods exist of registering trademarks on a Community wide basis rather than individually in each EEC State.

At present, trade marks are registered in the EEC on a country-by-country basis and I have had no representations to the effect that the protection offered in each country is inadequate. Although this system is expected to continue, negotiations are now afoot with a view to enabling a trademark with EEC-wide effect to be registered on the basis of a single application to a Community Trade Mark Office. The Government have proposed that this office should be located in London.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether in some EEC Stales it is possible for British firms to be deprived of the right to trade under their normal trademarks due to preemptive registrations of these trademarks by potential competitor firms, or by persons subsequently prepared to sell the right to use the trademark back to the original British operating firms for a substantial sum; and, if this is the case, if he will take action to prevent this.

Yes, it is possible for a firm to be deprived where ownership of a trademark in a country is required only through registration regardless of the rights of previous users. Such a situation has obtained, for example, m France since the introduction of new legislation in 1965, and the only effective remedy is for the firm concerned to register its mark as quickly as possible. British trademark interests have been alerted to this.