Annual Technical Report 2004 on Industrial Design Information Activities submitted by United Kingdom (SCIT/ATR/ID/2004/GB)
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The expression "industrial designs" covers industrial designs and models. Offices which issue design patents should report their design patent information activities in this series of Annual Technical Reports.
I. Evolution of registration activities
Changes experienced in terms of application filings and grants (registrations) with respect to the previous year
Design Applications filed: 5910
Design Registrations: 6470
Design Applications filed: 4179
Design Registrations: 3182
Trends or areas experiencing rapid changes with respect to the previous year
Demand for Designs in 2004 was 29% less than in 2003 and comparing the first 6 months of 2005 to 2004 demand is down by 16%. However the real effect on demand since Community Designs came into being in April 2003 is a drop of nearly 60%.
Currently the UK Designs system is being modernised ( and will allow such things as applications for multiple designs - mirroring the Community Design ) and it is hoped that this will stimulate some increase of UK demand. The effects of this are not likely to be seen or known until 2007.
II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, and distribution of industrial design documents and of secondary sources of industrial design information, i.e., official gazettes
Publishing, including printing, copying techniques and electronic printing
Lists of designs which have been registered, renewed, corrected, or which have requested restoration are published weekly in the Patents and Designs Journal. This is an electronic only weekly journal published on our web site (www.patent.gov.uk).
Designs are also published in our weekly Designs in View Journal. Currently produced in paper form this journal contains design illustrations and bibliographic details. Work is under way to produce an electronic version of this journal offering a range of search options including proprietor, agent and Locarno class.
III. Matters concerning classifying, reclassifying and indexing of industrial design information according to the classification systems applied
Classification and reclassification activities; Classification system used, e.g., International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification), other classification (please indicate whether industrial designs are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification is used)
Design applications are currently classified according to the Locarno Classification, 7th Edition. Work is currently underway to update our design databases to the 8th Edition. Locarno class 99 is subject to internal adaptation to allow classification of applications containing logos.
IV. Search file establishment and upkeep
The UK registration process does not include a novelty search but examiners are able to raise objections against application if their own knowledge is such that they are aware the design is not new. The UK office is currently undertaking an exercise to consult users on the future of any examination function.
Copies of design representations are held for non-textile designs from January 1991 onwards and for Textile designs from August 1998 onwards. Earlier registrations are held by the United Kingdom Public Records Office.
Storage, including mass storage media
Design paper files are kept within the examination section until registration has been achieved. Paper files are then despatched to an off-site staorage facility.
Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file
No documentation from other offices is maintained or considered as part of the available search file. Examiners have access to the Internet for reference purposes.
V. Activities in the field of computerized search systems for industrial designs
In-house systems (online/offline)
Searches are undertaken in a number of ways. Bibliographic details are held on the ACORD system which runs on an ICL mainframe. Designs images and associated bibliographic details are maintained on the internal Designs Registry Image Management System (DRIMS) which is used for searching internally within the office. A public web-based service is offered via the DRIMSweb system. Both DRIMS and DRIMSweb are based on standard Documentum architecture.
All UK Designs Registry staff are equipped with networked Pentium 4 PCs which are attached to a local area network running Novell NetWare 6. Standard automation products available to all staff include Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel. Novell GroupWise 5.5 is currently used for e-mail. Access to the ACORD mainframe system and the DRIMS image system is available via the networked PCs. The office is due to migrate to Windows XP during 2005.
VI. Administration of industrial design services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, registering designs, assisting clients with search procedures, obtaining official publications and registry extracts)
The Patent Office web site provides a wide range of information including the benefits of design registration, how to register a design, design law and legal decisions, guides to applicants, examination practice and frequently asked questions. All currently used forms are available in pdf format along with guidance on completion and applicable fee information.
Brochures and guides for applicants are available via the web site or through our Central Enquiry Unit which acts as a contact centre for all areas of Intellectual Property. The Enquiry Unit also offers general guidance about designs, with more specialised advice being available from the designs examination section. A search of registered designs is available on payment of a fee. A search by Proprietor or Locarno classification is available on our web site via the DRIMSweb system.
Applications for design registration can be made by post or in person to our Newport, South Wales or London offices.
Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and industrial design information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web).
The Patent Office web site contains a range of information concerning registration of designs, the benefits of design registration and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. A booklet “How to Apply to Register a Design” is available to download or a paper copy is available. Our Central Enquiry Unit are available to answer queries concerning designs by e-mail, fax or telephone. Members of the public may visit our Newport or London office to search designs information using the Internet including searching of the designs register via the DRIMSweb system.
VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of industrial design documentation and information
There is no formal exchange of documentation to any other national office. Copies of the Designs in View Journal are made available to Patent Information Network Libraries around the UK.
VIII. Matters concerning education and training including technical assistance to developing countries
Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)
Designs form part of our promotional activities with a number of events and seminars being held throughout the year.
Assistance to developing countries (sending consultants and experts, receiving trainees from developing countries, etc.)
Designs Administration and Registration have been involved in seminars to business and Intellectual Property students. Advice on the UK design registration process works has been made available to a number of areas.
IX. Other relevant matters