I. New draft trademark law

Οn May 2011 the public consultation on the new draft law regarding “trademarks for products and services” was completed. The draft law launched by the Greek Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Finance will implement Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the field of trademark law, the Council Regulation no 207/2009 on the Community trademark and the Madrid Protocol for the international registration of trademarks.

The draft law aims at the modernization of the Greek trademark law by speeding up the procedures for trademark registration and reinforcing the protection of consumers and businesses against counterfeit products.

The most important innovations of the draft law are summarized as following:

* trademarks will be registered without the need to obtain an irrevocable decision.
* four additional sections will be added to the Administrative Trademark Committee (D.E.S) so as decisions are rendered in a shorter term.
* applicants will have the right to designate a single representative for their trademarks.
* the term for the submission of applications initiating third-party proceedings will be reduced to three (3) months.
* the goods and services included in the initial registration of a trademark can be divided into separate registrations.

In addition to the above, the draft law reinforces the protection of trademark owners with the implementation of the following provisions:

* trademark owners will have the right to request the issuance of an interlocutory injunction for prompt and effective provisional measures to preserve relevant evidence in respect of the alleged infringement.
* the competent judicial authorities in response to a justified and proportionate request of the claimant may order the disclosure of banking, financial or other commercial information on the origin and distribution networks of the goods or services which infringe an intellectual property right by the infringer or any other person who was found in possession or using or providing the infringing goods on a commercial scale.
* new criminal sanctions are introduced for the protection of trademarks which enjoy a wide reputation
* trademark owners will have the right to challenge the illegal use of their trademarks against third persons who are used as intermediaries for their infringement.
* the damage of the trademark owner will be calculated on the basis of the profit gained by the person who committed the trademark infringement or the amount that he would have paid if he had requested for a license.
* the judicial authorities may order at the request of the applicant the display of information concerning the decision and publishing it in full for the protection of consumers and businesses.
* all consumers will have the right to be joined as a party against any trademark registration which could be misleading.

In addition to the above the following provisions are inserted regarding the registration of trademarks at a European and international level:

* the competence of the Administrative Trademark Committee is extended to the review of registrations of international and community trademarks to be converted in Greek trademarks.
* the conversion of international and community trademarks is regulated and the seniority of the national trademark is acknowledged and protected.

II. Trademark “Made in Greece”

The Greek Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping has drawn up a draft law for the trademark “Made in Greece”. The purpose of the establishment of the said trademark is the certification of Greek products and their association with the origin and the particular characteristics of Greece.

Following its amendment according to the observations of the European Commission, the draft law was forwarded on the 26.09.2011 to the European Commission in order to receive its final approval that the criteria under which the said trademarks will be registered comply with the rules of the EU and do not indicate a local purchasing preference within the EU.

Even though that the use of the said trademark would be on a voluntary basis, it is estimated that it will stimulate the exports and would also be an incentive for Greek consumers to support the Greek products given the current financial crisis in Greece.

Edited by Maria Giannakaki