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Archived updates for Thursday, August 04, 2005

UKPO Launches Consultations on Design Registration, EU Enforcement Directive, and Trademark Examination

In order that Government policy is evidence-based and relevant to business, commerce and consumers, the UK Patent Office is giving you the opportunity to express your views and opinions on
Comments on the three consultations are required before October 7, 2005.

UK businesses register and protect fewer designs than some of their competitors in other countries, most notably France and Germany. Also, the proportion of design applicants representing themselves before the Patent Office has risen to around 70%, which reflects the continuing value of a national design registration to small and medium sized businesses. The Design Registry at the Patent Office would therefore like to ensure that the national system for registering designs offers a useful and cost effective alternative to the system of registering Community designs.

The Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights 2004/48/EC was adopted in April 2004 and is intended to harmonise best practice (some derived from the UK) across the European Community rather than leading to substantial changes in our intellectual property enforcement procedures and practices. Member states are required to implement the Directive by 29 April 2006. This consultation paper describes how we propose to implement the various provisions in the Directive (see annexes B & C) and a draft Statutory Instrument to implement the additional presumptions required by Article 5 is included at annex D.

With regard to the third consultation, the Office wishes to establish whether the law should continue to require the registrar of trade marks to examine new applications in order to identify any conflict with earlier trade marks in different ownership and, if so, to refuse registration of the later trade mark. This is usually called examination on 'relative' grounds in order to distinguish it from the separate examination of applications that is intended to prevent marks from being registered which are inherently unsuitable to be the subject of an exclusive trade mark property right: the so-called absolute grounds for refusal.
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