Annual Technical Report 2004 on Trademark Information Activities submitted by Germany (SCIT/ATR/TM/2004/DE)
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I. Evolution of registration activities
In the year 2004 the number of national trade mark applications increased to 65,918 from 62,041 trade mark applications in the year 2003 (+ 6.2%). The number of opposition procedures received in 2004 amounted to 7,301 against 7,365 in 2003 (-0.87%). Under the Madrid system, the number of international registrations seeking protection in Germany dropped to 8,015 from 8,685 in the year 2003 (- 7.7%).
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 electronic publication platform DPMApublikationen with the electronic trade mark journal "Markenblatt" (published weekly)
- The online information service DPINFO (updated daily)
- The web server DPMAdatenabgabe (updated weekly).
DPMApublikationen offers the “Markenblatt” (trade mark journal) in a PDF version and in a searchable version. 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current data of the electronic trade mark register, applications yet to be published and data concerning rejected and withdrawn trade marks.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).
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office offers 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.
In the year 2004 the Federal Republic of Germany has joined the Trade Mark Law Treaty (TLT). To fulfil the requirements of this treaty, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office has begun, since June 2004, to examine, register and publish the lists of goods and services grouped according to the classes concerned. Applicants are obliged to specify their list of goods and services grouped according to the classes of the Nice Classification in numerical order (Section 20 paragraph 3 Trade Mark Ordinance).
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 (inter alia).
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 ROMARIN and DEMAS CD-ROMs. Furthermore, the databases of 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 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.
After preliminary arrangements during the years 1997/1998 until 2002 the implementation process started at the beginning of 2003. In the year 2004 the migration of data from the existing trade mark system was nearly completed as well as the design and implementation of the new trade mark system.
The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2006. The following steps are still due:
- completion of the 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.
On 1 January 2004, the new official publication platform of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (http://publikationen.dpma.de) became operational. On this new Internet platform the Office publishes all its official publications, i.e.”Patentblatt“ (patent gazette), ”Markenblatt“ (trade mark journal), ”Geschmacksmusterblatt“ (designs gazette) and the patent documents (A, B, C, U and T documents), exclusively in electronic form. DPMApublikationen can be used free of charge.
DPMApublikationen has a German and an English language user interface for accessing data relating to patents/utility models, industrial designs and trade marks, available in two different versions:
PDF version for displaying, printing and downloading the patent gazette, trade mark journal and designs gazette in the layout of the former printed issues;
searchable version for conducting searches within the bibliographic, legal and procedural status data; several search modes available (beginner, expert, assisted); access to patent documents and trade mark and industrial design images.
The last printed issue of the paper version of the trade mark journal was published on 25 June 2004.
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 public has access to the electronic German Markenblatt (trade mark journal), the gazette Les Marques Internationales, the Community Trade Marks Bulletin and the DEMAS, ROMARIN and EUROM CD-ROMs in the Office's public search rooms in Munich and Berlin and in 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
Although the German Patent and Trade Mark Office has discontinued the publication of the trade mark journal in paper form (see Chapter VI) it nevertheless receives trade mark journals from 44 foreign national IP offices and international organisations, some of them on CD-ROM. It sends the DEMAS CD-ROM published by Thomson Scientific GmbH to 24 offices.
VIII. Matters concerning education and training including technical assistance to developing countries
In 2004 the German Patent and Trade Mark Office continued to focus on technical cooperation with other offices and IP related organisations worldwide, especially with the authorities for trade mark protection of Asian countries.
Several high ranking delegations visited the Office to gain insight into the procedure of trade mark registration and practice in Germany. Six officials of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) gathered information on the registration of geographical indications as collective marks and the international registration of marks according to the Madrid Protocol. A delegation, headed by the Deputy Director General of the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People´s Republic of China, informed itself about the judicial review of trade marks and the functions and procedures of the respective institutes in charge of handling trade mark cases in Germany. The Vice President of the Trademark Office of the People´s Republic of China (CTMO) gained insight into the practice of the "balanced scorecard" and the use of the "cost/performance accounting system" during his visit to the Office. Furthermore a delegation from Thailand, headed by the Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), discussed protection of geographical indications with experts.
For the fourth time a workshop on "Innovation Support Services and their Management" was held in cooperation with WIPO for experts from developing countries like Albania, Croatia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as well as Serbia and Montenegro. A seminar on "Enforcing the Protection of Patents and Trade Marks in Germany" was held for a delegation from Vietnam. The 20 participants visited different institutions in the framework of the project "Vietnam's WTO Accession: Preparing to compete in a new environment".
IX. Other relevant matters