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Trade mark and trade secret consultations 20/02/2018 The IPO has launched consultations relating to the Trade Mark Directive and the Trade Secrets Directive.

Trade mark and trade secret consultations

The Intellectual Property Office has launched two consultations – one dealing with changes to the law being brought in by the Trade Mark Directive, and a technical one relating to the Trade Secrets Directive.

The changes being brought in to trade mark law include:

  • removing the requirement for a trade mark to be presented graphically. Marks then could be filed in contemporary file formats, like moving images, provided they are presented in a clear and precise manner
  • restricting the scope of the ‘own name’ defence against infringement to individuals only
  • removing expired trade marks from the definition of an ‘earlier trade mark’

The aim is to make the framework across Europe more accessible and effective for business, to support innovation and economic growth. It will also future proof the system in terms of file formats.

The IPO seeks views on how it should make these changes. Comments are sought by 16th April 2018.

The second, technical, consultation relates to draft Regulations that will bring the Trade Secrets Directive into UK law.

It sets out minimum standards for measures, procedures and remedies that should be available in the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of trade secrets. It also includes a definition of a trade secret and provisions for protecting confidential information during legal proceedings.

The UK has a strong and well established legal framework that allows for the effective enforcement of trade secrets. As a result, a number of provisions in the Directive already exist in UK law. The changes proposed relate primarily to procedural matters in the courts, and are intended to provide clarity, transparency and consistency across the UK’s various jurisdictions.

Comments on this consultation are required by 16th March 2018.

The trade mark related consultation can be found here and the trade secrets one here.


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