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Community trade mark applications that meet certain requirements can now benefit from a new accelerated examination procedure, known as the Fast Track. While regular Community applications are generally published within around eight to ten weeks from filing, applications processed via the Fast Track are expected to reach publication at least twice as quickly, and at no extra cost.
The main requirement for a Community trade mark application to be processed via the Fast Track is that the goods and services applied for are selected from the Community Trade Marks Office’s Harmonised Database – a database of specification terms that have already been accepted by the Office, and translated into the working languages of the EU. This simplifies the examination process, as further review and manual translation of the specification terms by the examiner is not needed.
The other requirement is that the fees for filing the application must be paid on application.
The Fast Track procedure may, however, not be suitable for all types of Community trade mark application. Where a Community application claims priority from an earlier application in another territory, for example, the goods and services covered may not fall within OHIM’s database of accepted terms. You may also simply find that the Office’s pre-accepted terms do not offer you sufficient flexibility in describing your products and services. There can sometimes be specific strategic reasons why you would not want your application to be processed more quickly.
It should also be noted that an application will be removed from the fast track if objections are raised at examination. The application will then default to the normal processing timescales.
Prior to filing a Community trade mark application, we can advise as to whether the Fast Track option may be appropriate for you. Although regular Community trade mark applications can mature to registration in as little as five to six months (provided no significant objections or oppositions are encountered), generally the additional time saved through the Fast Track procedure could prove valuable, especially as it will not incur additional costs.