User-centred quality is both the foundation stone and the centre of the EUIPO’s work.
Through commitments, activities, the integration of user feedback and user-centred initiatives, the Office works to provide a continuously improving and evolving service, tightly aligned with user needs and expectations.
Quality at EUIPO from the viewpoint of an examiner: how quality works in practice
Find out more about the ICE initiative
Throughout the lifetime of the EUIPO’s first Strategic Plan, quality efforts centred on the development of a full quality management system at the Office, which has been extended and developed over time. The Strategic Plan 2020 goes further, with 10 user-centred quality projects nested under Line of Action 5.
Our Service Charter
Underpinning all the Office’s quality activities is its Service Charter – its commitment to users. The Service Charter sets out what users can expect from the Office, in three core areas: timeliness (how long it takes to deliver a service); accessibility (how well and quickly the Office makes services available to users by phone, email and through e-business applications); and quality of decisions (how EUIPO’s decisions measure up against agreed quality criteria).
Linked to our Service Charter objectives, and complementary to our quality commitments to users, are our e-filing and user support tools. They help trade mark and design applicants save time, and sometimes money, by speeding up the application process, helping to cut down on deficiencies and increasing consistency and predictability.
eSearch Plus is EUIPO’s online trade mark and design database. TMview and DesignView contain around 50 million trade marks and around 15 million designs from the EUIPO, all EU national and regional IP offices and global IP offices too. All are free to use and updated 24/7.
Through our smart e-filing system and our Fast Track system (for even quicker applications), users can save time when filing online. Our online tools and forms help users quickly manage a range of filing activities, including appeals and cancellation applications.
Classification made easier
TMclass, the Harmonised Database and the Goods and Services Builder are interconnected, complementary tools to help simplify and speed up the classification process for users, and reduce deficiencies.
Quality through working methods
EUIPO’s team-based and cross-departmental working structure aims to improve quality at every stage of the examination process. The two main initiatives, the Knowledge Circles and the Interactive Collaborative Examination (ICE) initiative, are both founded on the twin principles of team working and cross-departmental collaboration. Their activities are linked to the Office’s quality commitments to users, and to the twin goals of consistency and predictability.
The Knowledge Circles
Office-wide practice is supported by the Knowledge Circles. These are cross-departmental groups of EUIPO experts who meet to discuss practice, quality check results and propose changes to the EUIPO Guidelines before they are sent for user feedback.
Interactive Collaborative Examination (ICE)
At operational level, the Interactive Collaborative Examination (ICE) initiative has been developed at first instance. The ICE methodology allows specialised pools of examiners to work together to discuss and solve difficult cases, thus increasing timeliness and quicker processing of files.
Quality through user involvement and feedback
EUIPO’s internal quality check system is complemented by the Stakeholder Quality Assurance Panels,groups of user associations’ representatives who perform ex-post checks on decisions via an audit process.
External quality checks help to align the users’perception of quality with the Office quality measurements and contributes to ensure better understanding of the Office decisions by its users. The findings of the stakeholder audit are then fed back into EUIPO’s quality system, allowing the Office’s own internal checks to implement improvements based the users’ findings.
The entire process is a constant feedback loop that reflects the Office’s commitment to embedding the user perception of quality in its systems, thus contributing to providing a better products and services to customers.
Listening to our users
User feedback is crucial to the ongoing process of improving quality for all our users. Since 2005, we have been measuring levels of satisfaction with our services and decisions relating to the registration of trade marks and designs through large-scale satisfaction surveys conducted by independent firms.
We conduct two types of survey:
- A user satisfaction survey
An annual user satisfaction survey, which measures everything from overall satisfaction with the EUIPO's registration procedures to levels of satisfaction with customer services, appeal decisions and the handling of complaints.
User satisfaction surveys Show
- Specific interest surveys
Ad-hoc surveys covering specific areas of interest.
Specific interest surveys Show
- We also gather feedback from people who visit our website through our contact form.
An Integrated Management Systems policy
Our commitment to making management standards better includes both learning from international best practices and establishing an integrated policy to ensure all our processes are efficient. This means combining operational efficiency with advanced human resource capabilities, information systems as well as the physical infrastructure.
We want the Office to be:
EUIPO Management Systems standards
Quality management (ISO 9001)
Since 2009, the EUIPO’s Quality Management System has been certified to ISO 9001 standard for all design-related activities. In 2012, the scope of certification was extended to cover all trade mark activities, legal affairs and the Boards of Appeal. In 2013, the Office achieved certification for all activities. In 2016, the Office achieved certification for the latest version of the standard (2015), which has a strong focus on risk and stakeholder management.
The scope of this certification and of all the certifications owned by the Office is the following:
The processing and management of the European Union trade mark and registered Community design registration systems, appeal procedures, European and international cooperation, knowledge sharing on enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, support and management activities.
Information security management system (ISO 27001)
We take a holistic approach to protecting our critical and sensitive information: from risk assessment and identification of assets, to training and internal auditing, every aspect of information security is taken into account.
Our information security policy is based on ISO 27001. This is a world-class management standard that provides a methodology for managing information security in all sorts of organisations. For us, this certification means that we can assure our users that we follow best practice in information security.
We have been certified with the ISO 27001 standard since 2004. The EUIPO was among the first organisations worldwide to achieve certification and the first in Spain, where we are based.
Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
At EUIPO we take our social responsibility seriously and are committed to reducing our environmental impact. We take part in the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), a management tool to evaluate, report on and improve environmental performance in organisations.
We have achieved EMAS registration and successfully run an Environmental Management System in line with ISO 14001.
The activities for which environmental impact is assessed also include those carried out for us under contract. Contractors are requested to comply with the EUIPO's environmental policy, which is annexed to all relevant tender documentation.
Every year, we publish an environmental statement validated by an accredited verifier, in which we set out the results achieved against the objectives, as well as any future plans to improve our environmental performance.
Universal accessibility (UNE 170001)
EUIPO promotes universal access as a means to achieving equal opportunities in the work place.
We hold the AENOR accessibility standard certification for persons with special needs: UNE 170001. This standard guarantees that all architectonic measures have been taken so that anyone, no matter what their age or disability, can access any part of our premises and their surroundings.
This UNE standard is based on Movement, Reach, Location and Communication, four parameters that summarise the tasks that people perform in their everyday interaction with their surroundings.
In practical terms this affects such things as elevators, corridor widths, stairs, signposting, information channels and much more.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHSAS 18001)
Fostering an efficient and rewarding work environment goes hand in hand with modern health and safety management. In this area, we have achieved certification to OHSAS 18001:2007, a recognised standard for occupational health and safety management.
OHSAS 18001:2007 helps organisations gain better control over occupational health and safety risks, while improving their overall performance. It is a voluntary initiative that helps identify health and safety risks and potentially reduces accidents.
Complaints handling (ISO 10002)
Meeting our users' expectations also involves an effective and efficient handling of complaints. The EUIPO was one of the first organisations in Spain to hold ISO 10002:2014 certification.
Our complaints handling process is based on a customer-focused environment, which is also open to feedback. The objective is to resolve any complaint received in a timely manner, and to enhance our ability to improve our products and services. The main aspects of the process are: the involvement and commitment of our top management; recognising and addressing the needs and expectations of users; and the provision of an open, effective, and easy-to-use complaints process.
More information about complaints management can be found on the customer care page.