New preliminary ruling concerning trade marks
On January 29th, 2020, The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) has issued a preliminary ruling on certain aspects concerning the interpretation of EU trade mark law and of the Member States’ laws on trade marks.
The judgement is answering to some of the long-lasting questions concerning trade mark related issues, mainly concerning how general an identification of goods and services can be and on the good faith of the applicant in relation to actual use of a trade mark.
One of the main clarifications made by ECJ refers to whether the act of applying to register a trade mark without any intention to use it in relation to the specified goods or services constitutes bad faith.
After reviewing the relevant applicable provisions, ECJ establishes that a European trade mark or a national trade mark cannot be declared wholly or partially invalid on the ground that terms used to designate the goods and services in respect of which that mark was registered are lacking in clarity and precision.
More importantly, ECJ underlined that a trade mark application made without any intention to use the trade mark in relation to the specified goods or services constitutes bad faith if the applicant had the intention either of undermining the interests of third parties or of obtaining an exclusive right for purposes other than those falling within the functions of a trade mark.
The aforementioned ECJ ruling is also applicable to the trade mark applicant established in Romania.