Those who want to register their trademark and design across the European Union (EU) will have their budget saved, the EU member states decided on Monday.
The charges would be cut down when trademark and design holders seek EU-wide protection through registration to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain, according to the decision.
"This fee reduction strengthens Europe as an economic location. In the future, it will be possible to register trademarks and designs through OHIM at significantly lower costs," said German Federal Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries, whose country is holding the EU presidency.
Trademarks and designs for goods and services may be registered through OHIM, thereby guaranteeing owners that their goods and services will be protected throughout the entire EU. Since the EU- wide system was established ten years ago, 77,500 trademarks have been registered.
The EU's decision was based on the fact that OHIM has financed itself exclusively through its fee revenues, and is even left with a substantial surplus.
"We will now distribute this surplus to users of the system," Zypries said.
The European Commission will work out the details of the fee reduction, in particular the exact amount of future fees. There was already a reduction of OHIM fees in 2005, amounting to a total of about 45 million euros (54 million U.S. dollars).
"This helps all those who wish to protect their rights against unauthorized counterfeiting, not only within their own countries but also throughout all of Europe," Zypries said.
The EU member states also decided to commission a study on the further development of the EU trademark system, which is still costly for applicants due to translation requirements.
The present EU rules require trademark applications eventually to be translated into 20 languages, which increases the average cost for a five-year period protection to 1,700 euros (2,000 dollars), much higher than the average fee of 1,000 euros (1,200 dollars) in the United States.
In parallel with the pan-EU system, protection remains available under national legal systems. For example, in Germany, trademarks and designs may be registered with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.