Saturday, 1 November 2014

Is a Fax Machine Essential ?

It appears that my co-blogger is planning to move office and to that end she has been busy working out what needs to be done. I am hoping that she will share with us some of the useful information she gathers in this exciting process.

She asked OHIM whether it was still necessary for representatives to provide a valid fax number for communications. She reports that they said No.

Today I had rather late instructions to file an appeal. It should have been the simplest task to enrich OHIM with 800€ from my deposit account and say that the grounds would follow later. Barely 5 minutes work really. OHIM even provide a very detailed note of how it is supposed to work. Sadly that is not how it does work, due to the delights of the OHIM website.

I really mean it
Once upon a time if you logged into your dashboard and selected a mark, it would be opened in a new tab after asking that infuriating question about whether you wanted to be told that ever again. I have lost count of how many times I have said I don't want to see that message again. That's not the bug I am concerned with.

The bug is that having arrived  in my new tab the header says I am logged in but the record says I am not. The bug seems to be temperamental as its sometimes there and sometimes not. Maybe this is due to the time I have been logged in? To me it seems just to appear to annoy me when I am trying to achieve something.

Now having got to my record there is a button to appeal but it wants me to upload the form. I am a smart bunny, I know where OHIM have hidden the link to the forms at the very bottom of the home page. You can also find a link in that very detailed note. If you are reading this because you have work to do (and a typewriter) here is the link to the Appeal Form.

OK you have the form and you download it and fill it in in Acrobat Reader. Oh no of course you cannot save it, but you can print it and scan it. Now it would be easier just to fax it but I have not got a printer and a fax to hand at the moment. I do however have a full licensed copy of Adobe Acrobat  so that should be simples. I can fill the form and save it and then attach it to the e-communication. No. I fill it and save it but when I attach it, its blank except for my signature. No information on the deposit account I want to take the fees from, no indications of the appellant and the decision. All just blank. Why? It looks just fine on my PC. I try to print it using a pdf printer but the security defeats me again and generates an error message as if I was trying to print a picture of some currency rather than spend it.

All I am doing is a standard obvious action that OHIM should have tested many times. It is months after the website was launched. They tell me how to do it in their tutorial but it does not work that way unless you are prepared to use a typewriter or a fax machine or scanner.

So Sally I am sorry they misled you but I strongly recommend you get yourself a little USB fax modem from Maplin so you can send faxes from your PC. This is the one I have and its a bit of a bore to plug it in instead of the phone but it should work (I hope) or this appeal ain't going to be filed. Just as well I don't leave things to the last day but even so post wouldn't work either.

So come on OHIM its bad enough that I must appeal but at least take my money without quite so much pain. I may cry.


  1. Even better you can get an electronic fax service such as eFax where you can send and receive faxes by emails.


  2. Dear Anonymous How about a review. My faxes that come in on the fax line are routed into my email. What are the benefits of this type of service apart from saving a capital spend of £23?

  3. The office has been " pay-telephone-bill-for-fax-line " / " divert-so-receive-as-emails " for some time but both receiving and sending of faxes is now negligible : hence the reason for (starting by) asking OHIM whether a Professional Representative was required to have a " fax number " (and - as Barbara reports) an answer of " No (so long as you are part of OHIM's eComm system) ".

    I've the luxury of a couple of months before move happens (date in 2015) and look forward to seeing other Comment(s) !

  4. (1) Yes to electronic faxes. I use a competitor of the service cited by Anonymous, but the principle is the same. Plus, I can see faxes sent to my "office" when I'm out of the office, whether across town or across the country.

    Then there's the "shared" fax machine problem that gets completely avoided. And the less said about fax-machine jams and paper/ink runouts for critical documents, or even just nervous clients who send a fifty-page business plan with sixty pages of tax documents by fax, the better...

    (2) I NEVER use "genuine Adobe" to fill out online forms. Recent iterations have been buggy (such as dubious backward compatibility and save bugs for multiline fields that include one or more carriage returns) and more oriented toward ensuring a continuing flow of fees for "updated" versions. Free alternative PDF readers for Windows often include annotation and printing features that are more than sufficient for filling out someone else's form, embedding one's digitized signature, etc. Plus, those alternatives are usually better readers than the official Adobe version...