Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2020
In the European Union, the criteria for determining a sign’s eligibility for trademark protection are largely harmonized.1 On one hand, the trademark legislation and office practices in EU member states must keep within the harmonized legal framework set forth in the EU Trade Mark Directive (TMD).2 On the other hand, the European Union Trade Mark Regulation (EUTMR)3 provides for a set of eligibility criteria applying to European Union trademarks (EUTM) with equal effect throughout the EU territory.4 As the rules in the Regulation are in line with those in the Directive, the two legislative instruments constitute a robust body of harmonized norms informing the decision on the registration of a sign as a trademark. The harmonizing effect is enhanced by the fact that national courts must refer questions relating to the application and interpretation of eligibility criteria to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).5
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