When we do naming projects, we often tell clients we will also check EU trademarks. But some with finicky lawyers still add, can we please check the OHIM database. Of course, these are one and the same and like so many good multigovernment institutions it has a long and complicated descriptive name that promptly gets abbreviated. In fact it is also called the CTM – an abbreviation they use internally a lot themselves that stands for Community Trade Mark.
Regardless, this is a very powerful place to register trademarks. With one registration approval, you get coverage across all the member countries of the European Common Market.
For those of us accustomed to searching this database for trademark clearance for many years, their recent new friendly makeover is something of a shock. Now it is very warm and inviting and informative – but how many words and panels do I need to dig through to get to a place where I can actually check or file a name! They seem to have erred perhaps a little too much in favor of the naive self-service consumer, if you ask me. And to think they have to repeat this in multiple languages as well. The goal might be admirable, but reality is most of their high volume traffic will continue to come from para-legals and professional name searchers like us – people who can actually interpret what they do or do not find.
So if you want to check a trademark for all of Europe (which does not mean you should not still check individual Euro country marks), here is the real, clean, simple, minimalist OHIM EU Trademark direct search page in English.
Separately and more interestingly, it appears they are finally insisting on more specific product or service descriptive on applications, rather than when many got away with using the whole category descriptor as their own descriptor, which really were too broad and unfair in most cases.
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