The Community Trade Mark system came into operation in April 1996. A few years later, some scholars already talked about the ‘revolutionary’ changes that the system brought not only at community level but also in the ways Britain imagined and legislated trade marks.

The seat of the office involved a controversial political decision, now largely forgotten. Britain put in an unsuccessful bid and Spain won. That the Spanish bid was successful was not a complete surprise since it was evident that Spain emphasised the fact that she had not yet received any community office until then. What was unexpected was that the Spanish government opted for the city of Alicante, a small city on the Mediterranean coast, to become the seat of the office because Madrid was also a candidate.

In retrospect, it is possible to say that the attempt of the socialist government to stimulate local business interests had some influence on the decision. Another factor influencing it was that the Spanish Secretary of State and Industry at that moment was Juan Ignacio Moltó, from Alicante.