Changes of name or address must be registered with IP offices

Published onMarch 2017

When a company changes its name or address, it is advisable to register said changes for all its trademarks, designs and patents with the IP registers in order to update the owner’s identification details for all industrial property titles.

This ensures an up-to-date and uniform portfolio of IP titles, and enables the owner to initiate both administrative and judicial procedures without having to deal with problems of urgent regularisation and/or facing procedural issues.

No doubt that some may bitterly regret not to have done this straightforward registration in due time, such as this Romanian company, which has seen its opposition declared inadmissible because it had not justified in due time its change of name and was unable to prove its entitlement, even after having exhausted the appeal procedures, including before the Court of Justice (General Court, 21 Apr. 2015 Case T-580/13 confirmed by ECJ, 8 Sept. 2016, Case C‑309/15 P).

These issues may seem to be ancillary and optional, but it would be overlooking that much of the cases both before the Offices and the Courts are won (or lost) not on substantive issues, but on procedural grounds. These questions constantly give rise to procedural issues, appeals, referrals to other courts, and multiply or complicate procedures, and sometimes considerably lengthen the timeline and increase the legal costs. Besides, as jurisprudence continually evolves, such delays may affect negatively the final decision (see for example here).

Registering as soon as possible any change or act affecting the entitlement, ownership or enjoyment of industrial property rights is strongly recommended to enable an effective and proper defence of one’s IP rights.