Annual Technical Report 2003 on Trademark Information Activities submitted by Germany (SCIT/ATR/TM/2003/DE)
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I. Evolution of registration activities
In the year 2003 the number of national trade mark applications increased to 62,041 from 57,416 trade mark applications in the year 2002 (+ 8.1%). The number of opposition procedures received in 2003 amounted to 7,365 against 9,538 in 2002 (- 22.8%). Under the Madrid system, the number of international registrations seeking protection in Germany dropped to 8,685 from 9,338 in the year 2002 (- 7.0%).
II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, and distribution of secondary sources of trademark information, i.e., trademark gazettes
The Office's main publications in the field of trade mark information are:
- The trade mark journal "Markenblatt" (published weekly)
- The online information service DPINFO (updated daily)
- The web server DPMAdatenabgabe (updated weekly)
The trade mark journal is published by a private publishing company, Wila-Derwent GmbH, on behalf of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The trade mark journal has a circulation of 900 copies of which 800 are distributed by subscription. The DPINFO database contains current data of the electronic trade mark register, applications yet to be published and data concerning rejected and withdrawn trade marks. The server DPMAdatenabgabe supplies authorized customers with machine readable trade mark raw data at marginal cost which can be downloaded via the Internet.
III. Matters concerning classifying, reclassifying and indexing of trademark information
Goods and services are classified according to the Nice Classification (Annex to Section 19 of the German Trade Mark Ordinance). Figurative elements of trade marks are classified according to the Vienna Classification.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office does not use an electronic classification system. Classification of all filings is done by examiners specially trained in classification matters to ensure a uniform classification particularly of terms not yet included in the Alphabetical List. Applicants are obliged to use terms which permit classification of the individual good or service in a class of the classification. Those terms should either be of the Alphabetical List or generally used in the course of business. There is however no obligation to use pre-defined terms of the classification (Section 20 German Trade Mark Ordinance).
In 2001, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office established an interactive search engine for the classification of goods and services which may be used externally (by applicants) via the Internet and within the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (by the examiners) via the Intranet. This tool reduces the time required for classification and ensures consistency of classification.
The basic bibliographic data (name of applicant, name of representative, name of trade mark, classes of goods and services, classes of figurative elements) of all applications are entered into the Office's internal database within 10 days from the receipt of the application thus allowing an electronic search at a very early stage of the procedure.
IV. Trademark manual search file establishment and upkeep
At the German Patent and Trade Mark Office trade mark applications are allocated to the examiners according to the leading class of the claimed goods and services. The manual search file of the individual examiner therefore consists of reference books relevant for the specific class(es) of goods and/or services he is in charge of and dictionaries of the languages most frequently used in trade mark applications (German, English/German, French/German).
The Office's library contains encyclopaedias, dictionaries of European and Eastern European languages, Japanese, Chinese, reference books for all kinds of goods and services, law reports, periodicals, the gazette Les Marques Internationales and the Community Trade Marks Bulletin.
Both the examiners' manual search file and the documentation at the library are updated on a regular basis taking into account the different developments in each class of goods and services.
V. Activities in the field of computerized trademark search systems
1. The German Patent and Trade Mark Office has developed an electronic in-house search system based on the data of the Office's electronic trade mark register. The search system contains the bibliographic data of pending trade mark applications and trade marks registered, cancelled, withdrawn or rejected. In the latter case a summary of the grounds of refusal is included.
For search purposes in opposition procedures the Office also uses the following CD-ROMs: ROMARIN, EUROM and DEMAS. Furthermore, the Databases of ROMARIN and PAVIS (since 2002) as well as all decisions of the German Federal Patent Court and a trade mark dictionary of that institution (since 2003) are available online for every examiner. Since December 2000 all examiners have access to the Internet and Intranet of the Office at their desks, in order to search for a possible descriptive meaning of a given trade mark. Furthermore, all examiners have access to the JURIS database, enabling them to search for relevant German court decisions or publications concerning various trade mark matters.
2. Project “New Data-Processing System for the Trade Mark System”
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office is currently developing a new internal data processing system for electronic registration, processing and search of data. The new electronic trade mark system is expected to become the key working tool in the Office. It will be more user-friendly than the current system, offering a more comfortable and ergonomic use. It will provide an enhanced integration of interfaces, and better availability of trade mark data for publication and the new media. This new IT system will contain the complete bibliographic data of all pending trade mark applications, registered trade marks, and bibliographic data of all cancelled and rejected trade marks and applications, as well as the reasons for their refusal. An integrated document management system will help to establish and save documents of any trade mark proceedings.
Although all trade mark procedures and actions of the Office will be handled completely by using the new trade mark system, paper files will still stay in use, as the new trade mark system is designed as a hybrid file management system.
The development of a new electronic trade mark system started in the years 1997-1998, when external consultants had been engaged to assess the IT support of the trade mark sector of the Office. The result of this examination showed that the electronic trade mark system, which had been in use since 1995, had to be replaced by a modern IT system on a completely new basis. Thus the project “Replacement of the Electronic Trade Mark System” had been initiated.
In the years 2000/2001, a specification was drawn up compiling the rough requirements for a new electronic trade mark system. The invitation to tender issued for the project was closed in 2002. Hewlett Packard emerged as the most suitable partner for implementing the IT processes. The implementation of the new trade mark system finally started at the beginning of 2003.
Based on the analysis of requirements, a thorough concept for the project was elaborated within one year, and the implementation process was then launched.
The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2006, and will be implemented in the following steps:
start phase in August 2003
migration of data from the existing trade mark system: winter 2004/2005
design and implementation of the new trade mark system: summer 2005
final tests and checks: summer 2005
pilot phase: autumn / winter 2005
user administration: winter / spring 2006
going live: summer 2006
VI. Administration of trademark services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, registering trademarks, assisting clients with search procedures, obtaining official publications and registry extracts)
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office provides electronic access to the national trade mark register via its Industrial Property Rights Information System “DPINFO”. DPINFO can be accessed via the Internet (https://dpinfo.dpma.de) since February 2000, and via the Packet Switching Network of the Deutsche Telekom ("X.25") since 1995, using an ASCII user interface which does not support the display of images. DPINFO is the common platform for all IP register databases of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The trade mark register within DPINFO contains legal and procedural status data of the nationally registered trade marks. In addition DPINFO has extra files for rejected trade marks and for data of trade mark applications from 1998, which are not yet registered and neither rejected nor withdrawn. DPINFO supports searches for the text of trade mark designations as well as for register numbers. An English language user interface for the Internet version of DPINFO has been available since 2002. In 2003 a user-friendly printing option was added.
The Office has issued numerous information leaflets regarding the trade mark application and registration procedure including examination guidelines.
The General Inquiry Office of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office offers help with all questions concerning the preparation of a trade mark application by phone, mail or e-mail.
The Markenblatt (trade mark journal), the gazette Les Marques Internationales, the Community Trade Marks Bulletin and the DEMAS, ROMARIN, EUROM CD-ROMs are available to the public in the Office's public search rooms in Munich and Berlin and at the 25 regional Patent Information Centres.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office is also represented on the Internet at http://www.dpma.de. The information provided covers all general topics concerning trade marks and the registration procedure. The application forms as well as the information leaflets can be downloaded.
An interactive application form and an Internet search engine for the classification of goods and services, available since 2001, make it easier for the applicant to prepare the application documents.
VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of trademark documentation and information
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office exchanges the German Trade Mark Journal ("Markenblatt") with 39 Patent Offices. 23 Offices receive the DEMAS CD-ROM.
VIII. Matters concerning education and training including technical assistance to developing countries
As in previous years, the Office focused on technical cooperation with foreign patent offices and organisations. Several training courses were held at the Office, for example, a two-week practical seminar focusing on trade mark law and on the organisation and duties of the Office was organised for officials from Latvia, South Africa and Iran. Other visitors came from Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Yemen and Switzerland.
For the third time a workshop on “Innovation Support Services and their Management” was held at the Office in cooperation with WIPO for experts from developing countries. In 2003, the eleven participants came from Honduras, Nepal, Tanzania and Zambia, inter alia. As in previous years, two law courses were organised for foreign experts from different countries of Asia, Europe, and the U.S.A., who where interested in German industrial property rights.
The Office has further intensified its contacts with Japan and China. It welcomed delegations of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the International Association for the Protection of Industrial Property of Japan (AIPPI Japan) and the Shanghai Intellectual Property Association. A delegation of China’s "State General Administration of Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)" gathered information on the protection of geographical indications in Germany. The Office also hosted a group of visitors from the China Trademark Association. Furthermore, President Dr. Schade welcomed Mr. Li Yuguang, the Deputy Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO).
Another visitor to the Office was Ms. Janet Werner, Deputy Commissioner of Patents of IP Australia, who gained an insight into the latest developments in industrial property protection in the Federal Republic of Germany.
IX. Other relevant matters