Trademark law reforms due for approval in Lithuania
On April 24 2012 the government commenced proceedings to ratify the Singapore Treaty. It also submitted to Parliament draft amendments to the Law on trademarks that, among other things, would:
- implement the provisions of the treaty;
- modernise registration procedures for trademarks; and
- eliminate the requirement that trademark licensing agreements be registered before they can be used against third parties.
The main proposed amendments to the law are as follows:
- Existing provisions on filing require an applicant to submit an original document confirming payment of the filing fee. The draft law abolishes this requirement, allowing the information about the payment of the fee (eg, payment date, number and purpose) to be indicated in the filing documents.
- Despite the fact that the law allows owners of earlier Lithuanian registered trademarks with a reputation in Lithuania to prohibit use of identical or similar marks for dissimilar goods and services, it does not allow these trademark owners to recognise as invalid later identical or similar trademark registrations that are registered for dissimilar goods. Such right is provided only for the owners of earlier registered Community trademarks with a reputation in the European Union. The draft law proposes to extend this right and its scope of protection to earlier national trademarks with a reputation.
- Existing provisions of the law do not provide for the possibility to divide the application or registration of a national trademark. Following Article 7 of the Singapore treaty, the draft law proposes to introduce this possibility. The division of the trademark application and registration would be subject to a fee.
- Trademark licensing would be simplified by the abolition of provisions which require that a trademark licence agreement be registered with the State Patent Bureau for application against third parties. However, the draft law allows parties to a trademark licence agreement to choose to record trademark licences for the reduced fee of €29.
The amendments are expected to be approved by Parliament and enter into force on November 1 2012.