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The month of April has brought us a new revision of the EUIPO Examination Guidelines. And, this time, they propose an important change that will affect the strategy behind the withdrawal of certain EU trademark applications.

Which is the proposed change? Decisions refusing EUTM applications on absolute grounds will be published the day after their notification, irrespective of whether the decision is final or not. Thus, the way these decisions are publicised will be harmonized with those of oppositions, cancellations, or appeals.

Which are the consequences? Notwithstanding the withdrawal of an EUTM application within the 2-month appeal period, the refusal decision will be published and made available for public consultation. And it will produce effects.

The refusal decision may block the conversion of an EUTM into a national or regional (Benelux) trademark, where a ground for refusal has excluded protection in a particular Member State.

When will it take effect? With the entry into force of the new EUIPO Guidelines, which has taken place on 31 March 2022. It will therefore affect all decisions issued after this date.

This new proposal is clearly in favour of transparency and public availability of information that, until now, has remained between the Office and the parties. This is likely to change the course of action and strategies of applicants, as the refusal of their trade marks on absolute grounds will be visible and searchable, even if the application is withdrawn. It will also influence the conduct of certain invalidity proceedings on absolute grounds. Because… in whose interest is it that a decision refusing your EUTM application (already withdrawn) is public and effective?

More information on the latest EUIPO Examination Guidelines at:

https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/news?p_p_id=csnews_WAR_csnewsportlet&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_count=2&journalId=9285342&journalRelatedId=manual/

Author: Jiarong Wu Zhou

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