A number of changes to the European Union’s (EU) trademark regulation will take effect later this month.

The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) is to be renamed the European Union Intellectual Property Office, while the Community Trade Mark – which is used widely across the Union’s 28 member states – will be renamed the European Union Trade Mark.

The changes were approved last December and are part of a package of reforms to the EU’s trade mark laws, including the replacement of the existing EU Trade Mark Directive.

The Community Trade Mark was created in 1993 and was the first unitary intellectual property right which applied across the whole of the EU.

Currently, over 100,000 trademarks are registered with OHIM every year, helping to protect the rights of individuals and businesses across all of the EU’s member states.

Although the current system has been successful, EU officials are looking to implement the changes soon, in order to help streamline proceedings and increase legal certainty. The ever increasing relevancy of the internet to intellectual property rights and infringement brings the acknowledgement that the system needs to adapt to a number of fresh challenges to intellectual property law.

It has also been confirmed that there will be changes to the fees surrounding registration of trade marks under the new system, including an overall reduction in the amounts payable to the Office – which is particularly significant in the case of trade mark renewals.