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OHIM and EU offices clarify practice on B&W trade marks



Managing Intellectual Property


A group of IP offices in Europe have published a Common Communication detailing a common practice on the scope of protection for black and white trade marks

The Common Communication applies to most national offices in Europe, and to OHIM, which will implement it in its Guidelines on June 2 this year. Italy, France and Finland did not participate in the project.

The Communication, published on April 15, is part of a convergence programme between IP offices, and comes after the issue was addressed in recent cases. It addresses three questions:

  • Is a trade mark in B&W and/or greyscale from which priority is claimed identical to the same mark in colour?
  • Is an earlier trade mark in B&W and/or greyscale identical to the same mark in colour when assessing relative grounds?
  • Is the use of a colour version of a trade mark registered in B&W/greyscale (or vice-versa) acceptable for the purpose of establishing genuine use?

Further analysis will be published shortly.


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