Sunday 22 June 2008

Why has the IPO changed its practice re online filing?

I too am still struggling post INTA and LA networking trip from which have just returned.

As life is so busy it is not always possible to get to grips with all the details one needs to know. So, it would be extremely useful if somebody who is familiar with the reasons behind one recent IPO change of practice which is puzzling me but which I don't have the time to look into would either please post a blog item on it or comment on this blog. The change in question is that it is no longer possible to file an application online unless one pays for it straight away. Previously, we used to file the application, wait till its details were posted online, check that it was correct, and then send in a cheque to complete the application. If for some reason we needed to abandon the application we did so without incurring a charge. This worked extremely well for me as I left junior staff to file the desired application but could check it later before making payment. Now, according to my junior staff, it is necessary to submit the paper form if we wish to have this same flexibility of abandoning the application should we want to. Is this the only way? Is it really necessary for us to print out and post the application form? We are a paperless office and given that the IPO seems to also want to cut down on paper, it seems nonsensical for them to have introduced changes which increase the volume of paper they will generate. Can anyone shed light on the reasons behind this change of practice, and indeed whether there is another way to achieve the possibility of abandoning an application if necessary?


  1. The processing of subsequent fee payments adds quite a lot of administrative effort within the IPO and deferred payment certainly does not chime with the fast-track concepts in Gowers and thats why it is now deprecated.
    In my experience clients dont like to see abandoned applications for their marks online so bringing the quality control forward is a good idea. The Save for Later feature means you can have someone prepare the application and put in your email address and an agreed password. When its done you get a nice email with a link to the form so you can check it and pay.
    Another SOLO member told me recently that he too had opened a deposit account because of this change and his preference for using online filing.
    I inadvertently discovered recently that you can still access the grace period for payment by having insufficient funds in the deposit account. In that case the UKIPO had allocated my top up to someone else but thats not a common occurrence.
    For the inevitable blonde moment you can call and email the new applications unit and drag something out of the system but act quickly before it gets captured.
    Deposit accounts are probably the best solution for the trademark professional. Using online business banking makes topping up straightforward and if your bank takes too long I recommend the services of Transglobal Payment Solutions

  2. Correction - the grace period is still available - or it came back. There is a box to tick to access it if you complete the form as an attorney, solicitor, in-house trademark department or a third party representative. The second option on the first page. Apparently, it's not suitable for an unrepresented owner of the trademark - he must pay up front.

  3. I had a candid conversation with someone at the IPO who said the decision was taken to do this in order to prevent people (mainly on Fridays and Saturdays) from drunkenly applying for all manner of trade marks which they would never go through with.

    The IPO obviously still had to send an acknowledgment out and it was felt that if it was pay at source then this would cure the problem.

  4. Filemot: I see that you recommend the services of Transglobal Payment Solutions. Is this an genuine, unbiased and objective recommendation, or is it based on the fact that you are listed as one of Transglobal's "partners"?

  5. Hi Anonymous - I recommend Transglobal because I use them for my own payments and they are providing an excellent service and better rates than I gor from Barclays or Rueschlink which I used to use. I now know several other users in the IP community (all sizes) and so far I am getting positive feedback.
    I'm listed as a partner because in our role as software suppliers we have been talking to them about integrating the management of disbursments within MARCO our IP office management software and their payment platform. This is still at an early stage, but we did share a stand at the ITMA Exhibition in April.
    As you can see we have not monetised this blog at all and our "investment" is principally altruistic and yes I am mad but being solo means you dont have to answer to anyone else for choosing to do something that is non-commercial