Sunday 15 April 2012

The OHIM Annual Report: talking statistics

For Trademark Representatives whose business is based on efficient dealing with OHIM, the Annual report has not generally been regarded as essential reading. However it may well help you to be a more informed representative in terms of managing client expectations. This year (for 2011) it comes in an audiovisual format and a print format. The words come in any of the five languages but I can only hear the interviews in English.

Some of us may have suspected that OHIM is raising the bar on absolute grounds now that it is an established player in most brand owner's trademark portfolios. There have been more appeals 65% more compared to two years ago according to the Paul Maier interview, but we don't know if these are absolute grounds or oppositions. The decisions of the office on absolute grounds that comply with OHIM quality standards are now said to be at 100% suggesting the bar is exactly where they want it, but is it where we want it? is it where the consumer needs it? If we rely on the data provided in the database of refused trademarks this shows that in 2009 there were 1884 refusal letters, 1794 in 2010 but 2659 in 2011, so its possible I have a point.  Nevertheless the trademarks, like the times are a-changing. Class 16 has dropped out of the top 5 classes and class 9 now head the show according to the interview with Director of Operations Juan Ramón Rubio. Does this new online oriented word use more descriptive signs as trademarks?

We also hear a lot about the strategic plan but in terms of impact on representatives we are still looking, though I sense that it has had a lot of internal effect. I shall be looking forward to some technological changes soon and do hope these will include an e-filable MM2, as well as finding out if eSearch Plus will ever come out of Beta. For those of us making our way to Washington for the INTA annual meeting Booth 323 should be worth a visit

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