Trademarks sold out

Is the trademark register full? Are there too many trademark registrations causing a shortage of available trademarks?

When conducting searches as to available trademarks the result is often negative. This is often true in the popular classes that list products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals electronics and advertising. Trademark attorneys often say that the register is congested.

This is a current hot topic in the European Union. Already the study of Max Planck has tried to answer this question and now a lively debate took place two weeks ago in Amsterdam organised by the ECTA.

The general feeling during this session was that there is congestion. On the other hand it is strange that there is no hard evidence to show this congestion: the number of filings and registrations rise (although the the number of oppositions do also).

As the main problem is that people claim too many products or services for which they will never use the trademark for, some solutions were proposed. For example the methods we all know from the US like a declaration of the Intent to use during the application or the requirement for filing evidence during the renewal. It is for the potential trademark holder certainly helpful to know more about the intentions of the owner of the older trademark. On the other hand, trademark owners benefit from some flexibility in order to manage brand extensions easily.

At least, MarkMatters.com sees one advantage of the congestion (whether or not it exists): people tend to be more creative when confronted with problems. So, the bigger the problems the better the trademarks.

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