Since the beginning of the European Community undistorted competition has been amongst the goals listed in the objectives of the EC Treaty. This requires strong and firm protection of trademarks that takes into account the interests of the trademark holders and the interests of competition, while at the same time protecting the interests of consumers. Trademarks enable owners to distinguish their product from their competitors' and therefore provide an incentive for entrepreneurs to invest in quality and to increase the variety of commodities offered.
One of the core elements in European trademark law is the principle of coexistence. The proper balance between the Community system and national trademark systems is considered vital for the coexistence and the functioning of the European trademark system. However, it remains open what proper balance in this context means. The frequency and effects of trademark litigation in Europe also remain to be investigated. The expansion of the World Wide Web has led also to an expansion in trademark infringement claims and lawsuits involving the Internet. These recent developments gave a new perspective to the existing system and the way forward should be investigated thoroughly. In the first quarter of 2012, the Commission plans to come forward with the revision of the Community trademarks legal framework to reflect the latest developments in this field in the last decade.