A Community Trademark (CTM) Registration covers all 27 European Union member states within a single unitary Registration.
The CTM system is administered by The Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market, known as OHIM, based in Alicante, Spain.
CTM Applications are generally filed electronically via OHIM’s website. The Application must include details of the Trademark, a list of the goods and/or services in respect of which registration is sought, along with the Applicant name and address.
Once a CTM Application has been filed, a filing receipt is issued. Thereafter, the Application undergoes a two stage examination. Firstly, it is examined for compliance with formalities and classification and secondly, an assessment of inherent registerability is made. Objection will be raised, if the Trademark is considered to be non-distinctive or descriptive of the goods/services. Monopoly rights will not be granted in words that should be free for all traders to use to describe their goods/services or a characteristic thereof.
Next, OHIM conducts a search of the Community Trademark Register for earlier conflicting Trade Marks and notifies any earlier Trademark proprietors identified by their search of the later Application.
Following on from this, the CTM Application is published in the Community Trademarks Bulletin for three months, to allow third parties to file opposition, if they are concerned. Opposition can be filed on various grounds, including earlier registered and unregistered Trademarks.
Finally, registration is granted and a Certificate of Registration issued by the CTM Office. A CTM Registration remains in force indefinitely but has to be renewed at ten yearly intervals.
In a straightforward case, the trademark application procedure takes about 6 months.