Anyone regardless of nationality can apply for a CTM and its not difficult to do online. It can be expensive if you get it wrong and professional advice can help you avoid mistakes and add considerable value, but for those entrepreneurs with confidence why should they not flash their credit card. The difficulty as I see it is that the European entrepreneur does not have a similar privilege to do the same in the rest of the world. If WIPO thinks its worth taking up, then compulsory representation for out-of-territory applicants could become a thing of the past but, until then, I do not see why OHIM should go unilateral.
There is a suggestion that professional bodies object to the removal of the restriction because it denies them work. For that reason I am prepared to represent an out of state applicant who needs a representative for free. This is not costless and it is an invitation to treat. The claimant of such free services must:
- provide sufficient information about themselves and the application so I can identify them for regulatory purposes
- agree to my terms of trade which contain a fair hourly rate for any professional services that may be needed, though there will be no fees if the CTM registers without any intervention on my part except the the taking over of representation, and a limitation of liability
- be prepared to sign an authorisation promptly if requested
- stay in touch for the next 10 years so I can forward any correspondence that arises such as a third party cancellation action.
- notify OHIM that I am your representative
- enter details of your trademark application into my docketing system
- forward correspondence by email only
I have already done this. A recent requester declined to provide any further information to identify himself and that is essential.
Many European trademark professionals would like advising on trademarks to be a reserved legal activity, but at present it is not. It is therefore important for applicants seeking assistance to have some way of checking that a representative conforms to some code of conduct. You can only do that on a state by state basis and the UK regulator IPReg does not pull its weight at the moment by providing a list of regulated firms so you might do better to choose a solicitor whose status you can check. For more information on representation see the OHIM page.