UK IP officials to bash out trademark issues

A delegation of UK IP officials will fly into Alicante this week to vent frustrations about delays and problems at European trademark registry the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM).

Top OHIM decision-makers, including president Wubbo de Boer and vice-president Peter Lawrence, will meet the UK team on 17 March.

Representatives from the UK trademark registry, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Law Society, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and the International Federation of IP Lawyers will make up the delegation.

“The biggest issue of all is the horrendous delays,” said a UK delegate, referring to the OHIM’s handling of oppositions and appeals. “The easy things are dealt with satisfactorily, it’s just the more difficult things.”

The delegation will also quiz the OHIM management over problems with the online trademark filing system, which does not allow users to save and file applications.

The meeting gives lawyers the chance to discuss changes in the law with OHIM policymakers and how they will affect community trademarks. The European Court of Justice’s Praktiker decision, allowing retailers to register shop names as trademarks, is top of the agenda.

A UK delegation meets the OHIM annually to discuss problems with the service. The day is informally known as ‘British day in Alicante’, and only German and US IP lawyers have similar meetings.