• Classification of trade marks and applicability to older trade marks
  • Administrative cancellation and revocation
  • Goods in transit and infringement of EU industrial rights
Status of the implementation into Finnish law 

The Directive has been implemented into Finnish national law through a reform of the Finnish Trademarks Act. The new law entered into force on 1 May 2019.

Classification of trade marks 

The applicant shall specify according to Nice Classification, in a clear and precise manner the goods and services for which the registration is applied for, so that it will be possible to define the scope of protection applied for. With respect to trade mark applications filed before 1 October 2012 using class headings, or trade mark applications filed between 1 October 2012 and 31 December 2013 referring to the alphabetical list of the Nice Classification, such specification can be made on or before the next renewal following the enactment. All trade mark registrations not so specified at the next renewal following the enactment will eventually be interpreted as covering the literal meaning of the list of goods and services only.

Graphical representation of trade marks 

The requirement of graphical representation of the trade mark has been abolished in accordance with the Directive.

Administrative cancellation and revocation

The earlier Finnish Trademarks Act did not provide for an efficient and expeditious administrative procedure for the revocation or declaration of invalidity of a trade mark as required in the Directive. The new Trademarks Act introduced such an administrative procedure for the revocation and declaration of invalidity. The new administrative procedure is similar to the opposition procedure and parallel to the court proceedings. As the procedure is administrative, it will be conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedural Act. Typically both parties bear their own costs.

Goods in transit and infringement of EU industrial rights 

Finland shares a long border with Russia and there have been a number of cases where goods bearing a trade mark without authorization have been seized by the Finnish customs on their way from Asia via Finland to the Russian markets.

The new Trademarks Act provides that the proprietor of a registered trade mark is entitled to prohibit third parties from bringing goods into Finland from outside the EU in the course of trade, even where the goods are not released for  free circulation provided that such goods:

  •  bear without authorization a trade mark which is identical with the trade mark registered with respect to such goods, or
  • cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from that trade mark.

The new Trademarks Act specifies that this entitlement shall lapse if evidence is provided in the customs inspection procedure (or in the court, in case the matter concerning the infringement of the trade mark is handled in the court), by the declarant or the holder of the goods that the proprietor of the registered trade mark is not entitled to prohibit the placing of the goods on the market in the country of final destination.

Also Criminal Code of Finland has been amended to cover EU trade marks and EU designs: now the infringement of the said EU rights can constitute a crime – in addition to Finnish/national rights.

Written by Ella Mikkola, Anna Kallio, Mikko Nurmisto