“Companies, particularly those which sell goods or services direct to the public, regard their trade marks (whether brand names or pictorial symbols) as being among their most valuable assets. It is important therefore for a trading nation such as the United Kingdom to have a legal framework for the protection of trade marks which fully serves the needs of industry and commerce. The law governing registered trade marks is however fifty years old and has to some extent lost touch with the marketplace. Moreover it causes some of the procedures associated with registration to be more complicated than they need be.” This introductory paragraph to the Government's recent White Paper on “Reform of Trade Marks Law” indicates that reform is in the air. The primary pressure for reform has emanated from Brussels with the need to harmonise national trade mark laws before the advent of the Single European market on 1st January 1993. To this end the Council of Ministers adopted a harmonisation directive in December 1988 which must be translated into the national laws of member states by 28th December 1991.
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