The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) has recently released its Annual Report for 2014 (the “Report”). OHIM is responsible for promoting and managing the protection of Community trade marks and Community designs.

Outlined below are some of the key observations from the Report.

TIME

Trade Marks

  • The average time to register a Community Trade Mark (CTM) has fallen from 6.3 months to under 5 months for CTMs filed via the standard track system;
  • CTMs filed via the fast track system were registered within four months;
  • The average time for an opposition decision has deceased from 18 weeks to 4.5 weeks since 2010.

Designs

  • Registered Community Designs were registered or published within 14 days of filing using the standard track system;
  • 30% of designs filed using the fast track system were registered within 48 hours.

TRENDS

Trade Marks

  • CTM applications increased by 4.4%;
  • 98% of CTM applications were filed electronically;
  • 25% of CTM applications were filed via the fast track system. In order to avail of the fast track system the application fees must be paid upfront and the goods and services are chosen from a harmonised database;
  • 12% of published CTM applications were opposed;
  • Less than 0.2% of the marks on the OHIM Register were the subject of cancellation actions;
  • 10% of Board of Appeal (BOA) decisions were appealed to the General Court with the General Court confirming 81% of BOA decisions;
  • Immediate download of certified copies of applications is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2015.

Designs

  • Design filings increased by 1%;
  • 30% of design applications availed of the fast track system;
  • 16% increase in the number of invalidity actions filed against designs.

HELPFUL DATABASES

  • Anti-Counterfeiting Intelligence Support Tool (ACIST) database provides harmonised data on the seizure of goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights. It gathers information from the relevant enforcement authorities in the Member States on custom seizures. The national data is then aggregated, compared, analysed and reported. Data is also being collected on seizures by the police within the Member States. This allows the relevant authorities and rights holders to get a clear overview and assists them in fighting counterfeit and piracy in a strategic and collaborative way. The aim is to collect information from the customs’ authorities and police of all Member States by the end of 2015;
  • The Enforcement Database (EDB) enables rights’ holders to securely upload and share information on their intellectual property rights, their products, and logistics to assist law enforcement authorities to recognise counterfeit goods and to take action. This database is currently used by 100 companies;
  • Case Law Database - OHIM is endeavouring to collect key IP enforcement related decisions from national offices to add to the case law database on the OHIM website;
  • Orphans Works Database - this database allows copyright holders to check if their work is being used and if they wish to put an end to its Orphan work status.