Recent developments in the EU, including ADR; small claims; trade marks

ADR procedure nearly complete

Consumers should have easier access to rapid and cost-effective resolution of disputes with traders over goods or services, following the introduction of two pieces of legislation adopted by the European Parliament on 12 March 2013: a Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), for disputes between consumers and traders, and a Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). Member states will be required to implement the new rules within two years and the ODR platform should be available by the end of 2015.

Small claims procedure consultation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the European Small Claims Procedure, which has been available since 1 January 2009, to assess its practical operation with a view to improving, simplifying and modifying it (it can be found at The deadline for responses is 10 June 2013.

Trade mark modernisation

Michel Barnier, commissioner for the internal market, has introduced plans to make the European Union’s trade mark rules more efficient.

His aim is to overhaul the existing rules to make national systems more business- friendly by reducing the cost and complexity. The legislative proposal will be transmitted to the Parliament and the Council under the co-decision procedure, with implementation, it is hoped, in spring 2014.

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