On 23 February 2015, the Trade Marks Committee provided the following comments to OHIM with respect to its consultation on its strategic plan.
While encouraging the development and aspirations of OHIM, CIPA wishes to make two general and one specific comment on the 2020 Strategic Plan:
- For users, the most important test, by far, of success and efficiency in provision of services is whether the OHIM core services (registration on CTMs and RCDs, opposition and cancellation proceedings, and information provision, in particular for searching of CTMs and RCDs) are being provided effectively and consistently. The 2020 Strategic Plan envisages broadening involvement beyond Trade Marks and Designs – “...Secondly, the scope of the network now encompasses all IP rights and not only trade marks and designs. While registering trade marks and designs remains the core business of OHIM, the Office now has a mandate that includes monitoring infringement and supporting enforcement of all IP rights...” CIPA urges OHIM not to expand its horizons at the expense of excellence in provision of its core services.
- Inclusion of users as key participants is a welcome extension of OHIM’s current policies for user participation. There are references, however, (for example at p11 para 6, p13 para 3) to such participation being reactive. CIPA encourages OHIM to engage users proactively at an early stage in developments.
- The specific comment relates to investment in design searching, at the interface between trade marks and designs. There is increasing awareness and use of design registration to protect what has traditionally been regarded as a trade mark matter, for example two-dimensional logos and artwork. But searching for CDRs by their appearance, rather than the product indicated, is difficult, if not impossible. And yet a CDR protects a design for all products. OHIM has committed resources before to developing a search tool, but shelved the project. Further commitment of resources to this project would be welcomed by users, and put OHIM in the forefront of activity at the intersection of different core IP protection for which OHIM is responsible.
Keith Howick, Chair Trade Marks Committee