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IP Network: European cooperation

The European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN) brings together the national and regional IP offices of the EU, the EUIPO, international partners, and customers of the Office to build a stronger IP network in the EU.

 

Cooperation at the EUIPO spans the creation of tools and online services as well as the harmonisation of practices, across a powerful EU-wide network of partners.

 

 

Cooperation with the national and regional intellectual property offices of the EU, with the involvement of users, is now a core task of the Office, which reflects the two-tier nature of the European trade mark and design systems characterised by the coexistence of EU and national/regional titles and their complementary relationship.

Under SP2025, the EUIPO will continue to dedicate significant resources to this work, expanding the role and importance of the EUIPN in order to deliver positive change on the ground.

The European Cooperation projects which will be developed under this Strategic Plan cycle were approved by the Office’s governing bodies in November 2019. They mark the most comprehensive and most expansive cooperation project cycle undertaken by the EUIPN, with three new projects aimed at, among others, small and medium enterprises, and collaboration services with EUIPN members. The projects will support the complete transposition of the Trade Mark Directive and will carry on work developing and improving the tools and services developed under previous cooperation iterations.

Between now and 2025, eight strands of projects will be deployed. Each project is supported by a working group, comprising EU national and regional IP office experts, users, and, where relevant, experts from international organisations.

 

ECP1: Consolidate the implementation of EUIPN tools ShowHide

This project includes the implementation of EUIPN tools developed in collaboration with the ECP2 and ECP3 Projects at national and regional IP offices of the EU. These tools cover the whole Trade Mark and Design filing and examination cycle: with Front Office, to support the e-Filing for Trade Marks and Designs, and other tools, such as Back Office, to support the offices in the examination procedure.

 

ECP2: Improvement and upgrade of EUIPN tools ShowHide

This strand of subprojects include major improvements to the Front Office, the Back Office, TMview and DesignView, as well as improvements to the Similarity tool and a subproject to maximise the use of collaborative work tools as well as TMClass.

 
ECP3: New tools ShowHide

This project includes a number of subprojects such as: Decision Desktop, to facilitate the decision drafting process for examiners; an Integrated Multiple Assessment Solution (IMAS), to provide decision support tools to examiners; an IT infrastructure through Cloud Computing, to support IP offices by providing cloud computing or similar technologies to secure data provision services across the EUIPN; adaptation of EUIPO tools, to provide new technical solutions for the EUIPN, taking EUIPO internal solutions and technologies as a reference.

 
ECP4: Convergence of Practices ShowHide

This Project focuses on promoting the development of common examination standards and practices in cooperation with national and regional IP offices in the EU, including the Common Practices CP8, CP9, CP10, CP11 and CP12. Three of the Common Practices address areas of trade mark practice: CP8 deals with the use of a trade mark in a form differing from the one registered; CP9 tackles the distinctiveness of shape marks containing other elements when the shape itself is not distinctive; and CP11 focuses on the new types of mark, namely multimedia, sound, motion and hologram marks. In the area of designs, CP10 deals with the criteria for assessing disclosure of designs on the internet. CP12 is the first convergence initiative in the area of proceedings, and focuses on the acceptable requirements for filing, structuring and presenting evidence before Appeal Bodies, and on the treatment of confidential evidence in appeal decisions.

 
ECP5: Sustainability of the Network ShowHide

This Project include a number of subprojects such as: digitising historical files and documentation related to trade mark and design dossiers; project and quality management certifications for IP offices and its staff; on the ground technical support for IP offices; mapping of emerging technologies and business developments to the needs of IP offices; and support to IP offices in developing and monitoring multiannual programmes of cooperation. Finally the launching of EUIPO country coordinators in charge of enhance and improve the current communication and implementation of European Cooperation Projects with MS IPOs.

 
ECP6: Supporting SMEs ShowHide

Given the economic, creative and innovative importance of SMEs in the EU, one of the SP2025 focus areas is to support the SME development. Within the implementation of SP2025, an SME programme has been set out to empower SMEs across and beyond the EU, protecting and enforcing their competitive advantage through IP rights. Given their working proximity to SMEs, and their specialised knowledge and language skills, MS IPOs and User Associations will be of fundamental importance to the success of the SME programme outlined above. Therefore, a specific European Cooperation Project has been adopted under SP2025, ECP6 Supporting SMEs.

The vision of this project is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs though raising their awareness of the importance and value of IP rights and facilitating their registration. This will be done in close cooperation with the EUIPO SME Programme and SME related initiatives in the perspective of European Commission priorities.

 
ECP7: Implementation of the Directive ShowHide

The main goal of this Project is to develop common tools and technical capacity building actions to facilitate IP offices and users in the EU with the complete and efficient transposition of the Trade Mark Directive, in collaboration with the ECP2 and 3 projects. The ECP7 includes three work-streams: TMD implementation support with tools, to analyse the potential areas of development after the implementation of the TMD; TMD implementation support with training, to organise webinars and training events with IPOs and UAs to inform users about the changes introduced; and IP Legislative and Practice Repository, to develop an online platform serving as a central point of access for trade marks and designs guidelines, legal provisions, case law and e-learning.

 
ECP8: Collaborative Services ShowHide

Under this new Project, the EUIPO and the IP offices aim to cooperate in sharing information and exchanging technical expertise and assistance to ensure interoperability between procedures and systems throughout the Network, and in enhancing consistency, efficiency and effectiveness. The ECP8 Collaborative Services – PEER project aims to establish a network of European IP experts drawn from MS IPOs, UAs and the EUIPO. PEER work-streams will analyse, advise and share tasks in IP areas of mutual interest in National IPR rights, Selected areas of Absolute and Relative Grounds examination, selected areas of Classification of Goods and Services and Product Indications, Designs, Collaboration in Parallel trade mark applications and Development of EUIPN Prospective Capabilities.

The first workstream launched will be the Peer on the National rights (article 8.4 EUTM) by creating a PEER network of experts which will act advisory and consultation resource on specific National IP rights. Through these work-streams the PEER network will additionally provide input for: ECP7 IP Legislative and Practice Repository project, ECP4 Maintenance of Common Practices project, ECP2 Similarity tool, EUIPN OC Classification WG meeting on trade marks and designs.

This collaborative work to harmonise approaches to a range of IP issues will communicate increased clarity, legal certainty, quality and usability for both applicants and MS IPOs. The ECP8 also includes the European Network of Authenticities subproject, in which IP offices aim to become key national actors in the fight against counterfeiting.

 

Cooperation: databases and tools

Cooperation at the EUIPO has resulted in the development of the Office’s flagship tools, TMview, TMclass, Designclass and Designview. It has also provided state of the art e-filing, e-service and back office tools for the national and regional intellectual property offices of the EU, helping to provide an integrated IP system across our Union.
Cooperation has also driven the development of a suite of tools for customers and IP offices, to facilitate the trade mark and design application, examination and management process.

Convergence:

Convergence is at the heart of cooperation at the EUIPO; a series of projects that link the Office with national and regional EU IP offices and user organisations to try to find common ground in areas where IP offices have diverging practices. This activity is now being expanded outside the EU.

 

The main benefits for users are:

  • Protection: easier, more effective and efficient access to the protection offered by registration systems both at national and EU level.
  • Savings: cost savings by having the same practices across all offices.
  • Legal security: increased legal security when applying for a trade mark or design.

Convergence will limit, if not eliminate, situations where similar trade mark and design applications are treated differently.

 

Common Communication on the implementation of IP Translator Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice on the General Indications
of the Nice Class Headings
Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice on the Acceptability of Classification Terms Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice of the Scope of Protection of Black and White ("B&W") Marks Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice of Relative Grounds of Refusal – Likelihood of Confusion (impact of non-distinctive/weak components) Show Hide
Common Communication on the Common Practice of Distinctiveness – Figurative Marks containing descriptive/non-distinctive words Show Hide
Common Communication on graphic representation of designs Show Hide
Common Communication on the representation of new types of trade marks Show Hide

 

Cooperation at the EUIPO has always been much more than the sum of its parts. It brings together EU IP offices, user associations and EUIPO staff in working groups which meet on a regular basis to track the development of each project. Working groups benefit from the input of EU IP experts, representatives from the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and, crucially, the customer perspective.

In 2017, European Cooperation at the EUIPO received the European Public Service Award in the European and regional category for its work on contributing to the emergence of a coherent and streamlined pan-European IP landscape.
Page last updated 13-07-2020
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