Anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on the past, to review achievements and to imagine future improvements. In this regard, I think it is fair to say that the celebrations at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, in Alicante last week, illustrated their impressive results in only two decades. OHIM’s geographical coverage has developed in parallel to the growth of the EU: from just 12 member states in 1994 to some 28 today. Starting with the Community Trade Mark, the scope of their activities was broadened with the launch of the Community Design in 2003 and most recently the Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights in 2012. The regular increase in filings of trade marks and designs demonstrates the trust of users from all over the world in the quality of this institution’s services. The opening of their new building further illustrates OHIM’s confidence and continuous development.
Being ever more conscious of the integration of different IP rights in users’ overall business strategies, as well as being the daily practice of many practitioners and most national IP offices, the EPO and the OHIM have developed closer ties in recent years. In May 2011 we signed a comprehensive MoU for cooperation activities which covers areas like IT tools, training and IP awareness. For example, next month both Offices will jointly hold their second annual IP training session in Brussels for staff from the EU institutions and the permanent missions to the EU, helping to disseminate an IP culture among many European decision makers.
Moreover, the OHIM and the EPO have also combined their expertise to deepen the understanding of the economic impact of IP rights. A joint study about the IPR intensive industries and their impact at macro level was published in September 2013, with the support of the European Commission. This study attracted a lot of public attention revealing unexpected patterns of IP usage in different countries and sectors. A complementary study focusing on various industries will be published early next year. Furthermore, the famous “Patstat” conference this year became the “IP Statistics for Decision Makers” conference, by integrating OHIM for a more complete treatment of IP data.
With both the OHIM for trade marks and designs, and the EPO for patents, Europe has two efficient and powerful institutions which provide the services needed by the European economy and which also provide a European voice to be heard at global level. For both offices, the original expectations of their founding fathers have been exceeded within just a few years.
I wish the OHIM and its staff many more years of success and I have no doubt it will continue its steady development under the dynamic leadership of President Campinos.
It comes as a surprise to some that the relationship between the EPO and the Patent Office of China (SIPO) started decades ago. Ever since Deng Xiaoping began to open up China and its economy at the end of the 1970s, numerous initiatives have been taken by the Chinese authorities. One of them was to […]
Last week in Warsaw the EPO organised its popular Patent Information Conference (EPOPIC). It is always a pleasure for me to attend this unique annual gathering of patent information specialists from Europe and around the world: more than 400 attendees from a total of 48 countries participated in this 24th session. I particularly enjoyed the […]
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After the summer break, I am particularly glad to start with a blog reporting on the celebrations for the 95th anniversary of Czech Industrial Property Office which took place last week in Prague in the presence of many personalities, including the Vice-Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry and Trade, the Heads of WIPO, OHIM and […]
When I started my term as EPO President on 1 July 2010, I found a situation of stark contrasts. The Office had evolved successfully over the previous decades as a recognised technical institution, yet in some strategic areas it was facing a crisis of maturity. While some IT tools and services, such as EPOQUE and […]
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