The Madrid Protocol entered into force for the European Community on October 1st, 2004. It is therefore possible to file an International application with the OHIM as an Office of Origin, and an International application may designate the EC to obtain Community trademark protection. International applications and subsequent designations are republished by the OHIM in the Community Trade Mark Bulletin, available online. International applications designating the EC can also be searched in CTM-ONLINE, in the same way as CTMs. The Office has committed itself to issuing the first reaction about absolute grounds for rejection to six rather than 18 months, by which time frame the Office will issue a provisional refusal or a First Statement of Grant of Protection. The office cannot accept withdrawals declared after a refusal decision, unless an appeal is filed. Currently, the Implementing Regulation is under review. The legislative process has been smoothly progressing in the past few months, and it is expected to be finalized fairly soon.
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