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Annual Technical Report 2006 on Trademark Information Activities submitted by United Kingdom (SCIT/ATR/TM/2006/GB)

 

Where URLs are requested below, it is preferred that either URLs which are likely to remain stable over time (three years or more) are provided, or home (main) page URLs are provided with a short explanation of how to access the corresponding information.

 

I. Evolution of registration activities

Changes experienced in terms of application filings and registrations with respect to the previous year

National Applications

2005 Applications: 28,695
2006 Applications: 32,049

International Designations

2005 Designations: 8223
2006 Designations: 7455

Trends or areas experiencing rapid changes with respect to the previous year

Domestic Trade Mark demand remains buoyant. Demand in 2006 was 12% higher than in 2005 and 19% higher than the 2004 figure.

International applications ( applications designating the UK for protection under the Madrid Protocol ) were down by 9% in 2006 compared with 2005.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide statistics related to trademarks

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about/about-ourpublications/about-review.htm

II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, and distribution of secondary sources of trademark information, i.e., trademark gazettes

Publishing, printing, copying techniques

The weekly Trade Marks Journal is published in electronic form only. The Journal is produced and edited via networked PCs by the JEEPS system using BroadVision QuickSilver desk top publishing software. Bibliographic data for the Journal is transferred from the mainframe OPTICS system with figurative data being taken from IBIS (Integrated Bibliographic and Image System). The Journal is then made available on our web site for public view. Once published, trade marks face a three months period where opposition to registration may be filed.

Designations made under the Madrid Protocol are also published in the Trade Marks Journal for opposition purposes. Bibliographic and figurative data are obtained from the specialised TMAD system.

The Journal is searchable by agent, proprietor, mark or image. Journals are retained on our website www.ipo.gov.uk for a period of 12 months. Previous Journals are available on CD and downloadable pdf version of the Journal is also available

Main types of announcements of the Office in the field of trademark information

The electronic Journal also contains a section called the Journal Backpart where announcements relating to trade mark applications and registrations are listed. Announcements include changes to names & addresses, marks entered onto the register, assignment of marks and details of trade mark licensees.

Notices regarding changes of practice, office procedures, names and contact details of office officials and other changes are published on our web site in the specialised trade mark section.

Word processing and office automation

All staff in the UK Trade Marks Registry are equipped with networked Pentium 4 PCs which are connected to a local area network running Novell Netware 6.5. Standard automation products available to all staff include Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel. The office uses the Windows XP SP2 operating system.

An object orientated system called TERN is available for generating examination reports. This uses DAIS, a CORBA compliant object request broker, to manage the acquisition of bibliographic and image data. Bibliographic data for domestic UK marks is obtained from the OPTICS mainframe with the image data from IBIS. For details of designations to the UK and to OHIM under the Madrid Protocol and for OHIM marks bibliographic and image data is obtained from IBIS. These details are compiled into a report produced in Word. The image database system IBIS is based on Documentum but is customised to our own requirements. The IBIS system allows for the viewing and printing of bibliographic information in addition to figurative details. The IBIS system is also the primary search system for both word and figurative marks.

A PC system called QUALS is available to trade mark examiners via their networked PCs allowing them to view and print details of cases discussed at weekly quality meetings.

Techniques used for the generation of trademark information (printing, recording, photocomposing, etc.)

The main channels for the distribution of trade mark information are:

a) For individual applications or registrations through the Trade Marks Journal publication and through changes notified in the Journal Backpart
b) Via our web site. This may be specific to trade marks or more Intellectual Property matters. Important announcements are highlighted on the front page.
c) Through the supply of data to commercial providers on a contractual basis
d) Via consultation exercises when statutorily required or when major changes are proposed.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide access to online trademark gazettes and other sources of trademark information, including download of bulk trademark data

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-journal/t-tmj.htm

III. Matters concerning classifying, reclassifying and indexing of trademark information

Classification and reclassification activities; Classification systems used, e.g., International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification), International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (Vienna Classification), other classification (please indicate whether goods and services for the registration of marks and whether the figurative elements of marks are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification(s) is (are) used)

The UK uses the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification) 8th Edition. Applicants are not obliged to use pre-defined terms but any terms which are not understood or which are unclear will be queried during the examination process. Classification terms which are deemed acceptable by our specialist Classification Team are collated and incorporated into a searchable guide which is available to our examiners and via our web site.
For figurative marks the UK uses a version of the Vienna classification system. For some marks a number of entries have been amalgamated and for others the classification does not go below the second level. The classification of figurative marks is undertaken by office staff at the time of application. Marks are scanned into the IBIS system and the Vienna classification allocated. This classification can subsequently be amended.

Use of electronic classification systems to check the classification symbols furnished by an applicant and which are contained in the lists of goods and/or services

No electronic classification systems are used to check the lists of goods and services provided by applicants.

Obligation for applicants to use pre-defined terms of the classification applied

There is no obligation for applicants to use pre-defined classification terms. General classification advice can be obtained from our Central Enquiry Unit. Specialised advice is available from our Classification Team who are available during office hours via e-mail, fax or telephone. As new terms are deemed acceptable they are added to our classification database and made available to examiners and via the Internet. The UK is currently collaborating with OAMI in the EuroClass project to provide terms acceptable in the UK via the OAMI website.

IV. Trademark manual search file establishment and upkeep

File Building

Trade mark applications can be made in paper form and electronically either via a web based form created in ASP.net, through a system established for larger filers entitled PaTraS or via direct xml.

All applications, however filed, are built into paper case files. Case files are kept in examination areas in the main office building until the application is published for opposition. Once publication has been achieved the files are despatched to a dedicated off-site storage facility.

Updating

The search files contain UK domestic marks, designations to the UK and to OHIM under the Madrid protocol and Community trade marks and are updated weekly.

Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file

Details of Community trade marks are obtained from the CTM download files and details of designations to OHIM under the Madrid protocol are obtained from WIPO.

V. Activities in the field of computerized trademark search systems

In-house systems (online/offline)

Searching of all marks is carried out using the IBIS system. Trade Mark examiners have use of an integrated search screen, word terms are then sent to the Marksman search developed by the Swedish Patent Office. Figurative elements use the IBIS system itself for search, the results are then collated and presented as integrated results. Word searching can also be undertaken using the OPTICS mainframe system. The statutory search undertaken covers UK national marks, designations to the UK made through the Madrid Protocol, OHIM marks and designations to OHIM made through the Madrid Protocol.

Commercial search services are also offered covering these marks

External databases

No external databases are used for trade mark search. Community trade mark information is downloaded using the OHIM XML data which is then passed to the search systems IBIS, Marksman and OPTICS via a reception system. For designations to OHIM under the Madrid Protocol to be introduced to our search systems XML files are downloaded from WIPO.

Administrative management systems (e.g., register, legal status, statistics, administrative support, etc.)

Management information is produced from the OPTICS, TMAD, IBIS and TERN systems. The TERN system produces statistics which identify the number of, and the results of the examination process. Records of the number, results and timeliness of opposition, invalidity, rectification and revocation actions is maintained by LAWS, a custom PC based system

Equipment used (hardware, including the types of terminal and network used, and software), carriers used

UK Trade Mark staff access all search systems via their networked PCs. The office uses the Windows XP Professional operating system.

VI. Administration of trademark information products and 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)

Planning, administration, automation, security

Public search is available at the main Patent Office site in Newport, South Wales and at the British Library in London. Only electronic searching is available. Public availability to paper record is only available by request following publication of the relevant trade mark. Copies of paper documents can be purchased.

Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and trademark information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web)

Trade mark applications may be made by post, fax, in person, electronically via the Internet or via the PaTraS system which allows customers to file directly by sending us an xml file or by means of an automatically generated e-mail.

Official trade mark publications are available via our web site or through our Central Enquiry Unit. Our website also gives access to legal decisions, examination practice and procedures including classification, pdf and Word versions of our forms with a range of these also available for submission electronically. All trade marks can be viewed via the Internet through a specific case enquiry function plus a search allows UK national, designations to the UK and OHIM and Community trade marks to be searched.
Our web site also offers an electronic caveat system which allows customers to be notified by e-mail of any changes to a selected trade mark without charge. This is also available as a paper based system with a charge being made. Trade mark renewals can also be made electronically.

The UK offers a commercial Search & Advisory service where customers can obtain advice on the registrability of a specific trade mark. General advice is also available via our Central Enquiry Unit with more specialised advice being available from examination, classification and legal areas.

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide information on business procedures such as: filing, publication, examination and registration procedures related to trademarks; opposition and appeal procedures related to trademarks; etc.

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-applying/t-apply.htm

URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that provide a description of information products and services offered by the Office (e.g., trademark search service(s), trademark databases, etc.), as well as information on how to access and utilize them

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm.htm

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of trademark documentation and information

International or regional cooperation in the exchange of trademark information, e.g., in the form of official gazettes

The UK national Trade Marks journal is available via the Office’s web site. There is no ongoing programme of mutual exchange of trade mark documentation but any documentation is made available on request. The UK is an active member of an International Benchmarking club which is working on collaborative ventures.

Exchange of machine-readable information

No machine readable information is exchanged.

VIII. Matters concerning education and training including technical assistance to developing countries (please indicate URLs of web pages of the Office’s website wherever appropriate)

Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)

UK IPO staff attend events, seminars and exhibitions throughout the United Kingdom. Our Marketing and Education section also undertake a wide range of activities designed to highlight trade marks.
Our Think kit campaigns have been running for a number of years. Think kit promotes all aspects of intellectual property and is geared at Key Stage 4 age groups.
This year we have launched our “Cracking Ideas” website which aims to get primary school children enthused about intellectual property.

Training courses for national and foreign participants

Training courses and seminars are undertaken by Office staff on a wide range of topics including current trade mark examination practice and inter partes actions. Speakers are also offered to seminars arranged by other organisations covering such topics as e-business.

Assistance to developing countries (sending consultants and experts, receiving trainees from developing countries, etc.)

Office experts have visited a number of countries to offer assistance and several visits have been made by staff from national offices.

IX. Other general information related to the Office that is available on the Internet -- URLs of web pages of the Office’s website that:

contain the Annual Report of the Office

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about-anrep0506.pdf

X. Other relevant matters

In 2006, following a consultation exercise with our users, we have made the decision to change our examination process. From 1 October 2007 we will no longer refuse to register a trade mark because of an earlier mark with the same or similar goods or services. Full details of how our current practise is changing can be found at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-decisionmaking/t-law-notice-relativegrounds.htm

An informal consultation was carried out from 31 October 2005 to 12 January 2006, which looked at the need to introduce a fast track service for trade marks, patents and designs. There has been much analysing and forward planning throughout 2006, with a view to implementing an accelerated trade mark examination process in April 2008.