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European cooperation

38 % of all employment in the European Union (82 million jobs) can be attributed, directly and indirectly, to intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries.

eu network

IP rights support businesses of all sizes, from multinationals to SMEs, and IP rights-intensive industries make a positive contribution to the economy of the EU.

However, to allow more businesses — especially SMEs — to unlock the protection that intellectual property rights (IPR) bring, the IP system in the EU must be geared to their needs.

The European Trade Mark and Design Network (ETMDN), envisaged in the EUIPO’s first Strategic Plan (2011-2015) was the result of a collaborative and cooperative effort between the Office and its national and regional office partners, supported by user associations and international organisations. 

Today it is has evolved to become the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN) ; a powerful, user-focused community of practice extending across the EU.


Towards 2020: European Cooperation in the EUIPN

Structured around a project-based approach, European cooperation at the EUIPO has five strands. Each strand contains at least one project, which is supported by a working group comprising EU national and regional IP office experts, users, and, where relevant, experts from international organisations.


ECP1: consolidating and completing the Cooperation Fund landscape ShowHide

The objective of ECP1 is to extend the reach of the existing projects of Strategic Plan 2011-2015: central tools, software package Front Office (SP FO) and software package Back Office (SP BO) as well as seven convergence projects.

ECP2: major improvements to Cooperation Fund tools ShowHide

This strand aims to enhance and develop the operational Cooperation Fund tools with new functionalities. The use of the tools and services developed during the lifetime of the last Strategic Plan is still increasing, and these projects aim to fully maximise their potential. These projects include major improvements to the Back Office, the Front Office, the Common Gateway, the Quality Suite, TMview, and DesignView.

ECP3: new tools ShowHide

Interoperability is at the heart of this strand, which concentrates on developing new tools and standards. These projects include: a new eLearning module; Search Image for trade marks and designs; creating a decision desktop for examiners; developing a single user repository and a Digital Case Law Repository; and an integrated multiple assessment solution.

ECP4: shared services and practices ShowHide

This strand concentrates on promoting the development of common examination standards and practices in cooperation with national and regional IP offices in the EU. It includes the Convergence Analysis Project, a thorough analysis of the main areas of IP practice, which will be used to identify areas where convergence of practices would be beneficial. The Collaborative Network project aims to support language checks on trade marks containing verbal elements as part of the examination of EUTM applications, as well as investigating potential areas of collaboration in examination procedures, and the Cooperation Administration Portal aims to facilitate communication between EU national and regional IP offices and the EUIPO.

ECP5: supporting the network ShowHide

These projects aim to help EUIPN members increase organisational excellence and efficiency in EU IP offices, thus providing users with better services. Projects include: digitising historical files and document tagging support for trade marks and design registers; on the ground technical support for IP offices; project management certification for IP office experts; and management systems training for IP office experts.



The European Trade Mark and Design Network (2011-2016)

28 IP offices, at national, regional and EU levels, working together with international partners and users.

  • Through the Cooperation Fund, the ETMDN created the e-filing service for trade marks, and designs, e-service applications and powerful back office solutions for IP offices. Today trade marks and designs can be filed electronically across the EU-28.
  • Global, constantly updated search and classification databases like TMview, TMclass, DesignView, and Designclass were developed and expanded through the network and the Cooperation Fund, as well as a full suite of IP tools aimed at users and IP experts in national and regional IP offices around the EU.
  • Seven separate areas of practice covering trade marks and designs were unified, bringing more certainty and predictability to users, through the Convergence Programme.


Common Tools from the Cooperation Fund

The Cooperation Fund was established in February 2010 to streamline working methods and modernise EU IP offices through up-to-date administrative solutions. The EUIPO invested EUR 50 million in the fund during its lifetime.

The fund encompassed 18 projects aimed at helping EU offices and the EUIPO to provide users with the best options to protect their rights. From the common call-centre IT tool to an automatic reporting tool for trade mark and design examiners, the projects help both the users and the examiners who evaluate their applications.

The tools are available along with other information through http://www.euipn.org/ and through the websites of IP offices across Europe.


Convergence of Practices

The EUIPO Convergence Programme links the EUIPO with national offices and user organisations to try to find common ground in areas where IP offices have diverging practices. It was launched in 2011 and complements the work carried out on common IT tools under the Cooperation Fund.

The Convergence Programme encompasses five projects, which range from seeking a common way to classify goods and services when applying for a trade mark or design, to such legalities as whether black and white trade marks cover other colours or not.

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


Under Strategic Plan 2016-2020, the work continues. Cooperation on IP within the EU became part of the core business of the EUIPO upon the entry into force of Regulation 2015/2424 on 23 March 2016. In the light of this new mandate, the European Trade Mark and Design Network was renamed the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN).

Sidan senast uppdaterad 28-08-2019
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