The Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union
OHIM’s plans for greater cooperation with major international IP organisations took another step forward with the signing of a wide-ranging agreement with the World Intellectual Property Organization earlier this month.
OHIM President António Campinos and WIPO Director General Francis Gurry signed the agreement to cooperate on IT tools, data sharing, staff exchanges and training during the visit of a WIPO delegation to Alicante on 17 June.
The Memorandum of Understanding follows cooperation agreements signed by OHIM with the European Patent Office and with the Korean IP office in May, all of which form part of the Office’s strategy of putting more emphasis on international cooperation, as outlined in the Strategic Plan for 2011-2015.
Mr Gurry said that signing the agreement was a very important step. “Now we have to breathe life into it so it is over to our respective teams to do just that and I am very confident they will.
Referring to IP tools and datasharing, the WIPO Director General said: “We need to develop the infrastructure for global markets. TMview and EuroClass and the other tools OHIM is working on are all going in this direction and we are very keen to cooperate in this regard.”
President Campinos said that it was imperative for the major organisations involved in IP to work together and share information and experience.
“We have already been working with WIPO and I am very pleased that in future the relationship will be even closer, just as it will be with the EPO and national offices.
“We are all part of the same IP system and it is vital, in the interests of users and other stakeholders that we coordinate our efforts, create synergies and avoid unnecessary duplication.”
The Memorandum of Understanding refers to OHIM Cooperation Fund projects which are developing new tools and harmonising practices, and the new OHIM Academy.
WIPO and OHIM already cooperate closely on tools such as TMview, and in the area of trade mark classification.
IT systems and other cooperation tools
Under the IT heading of the agreement, both organisations have agreed to explore synergies on programmes, including those under the OHIM Cooperation Fund, and to cooperate in the area of IT systems related to the Madrid and The Hague registration systems.
In particular, OHIM will take part in pilot, proof-of-concept or integration projects such as the International Registration Process Integration (IRPI) project, which is part of WIPO’s modernisation program for MAPS/DMAPS/IMAPS.
WIPO will take part in the OHIM Cooperation Fund working group on the e-filing and file management software package, on the XML standard and on the development of a common architecture for future IT platforms as well as becoming a permanent observer in a number of working groups for other projects.
Exchange of Data
Both offices will cooperate in updating and improving the content and functions of their existing and future databases including classification databases, the WIPO Global Brand Database, TMview, and design databases.
Exchange of Human Resources
Mutual cooperation in the field of Human Resources may include developing mechanisms to enable temporary secondment of WIPO and OHIM personnel from one organisation to the other, in order to exchange technical and educational know-how as well as to enhance cooperation in joint projects.
Activities may include the organisation of joint courses, seminars and workshops, through the WIPO Academy and the OHIM Academy, for the benefit of officials of the National IP Offices, the national authorities involved in combating counterfeiting and infringement of IP rights such as national courts, police and customs authorities, and the users of the IP system. There may also be joint development of educational projects and e-learning tools in relation to IP rights aimed at small and medium–sized enterprises and universities and increased participation in programmes, including distance-learning programmes, developed by the WIPO Academy.
The agreement contains a commitment to exchange information and consult regularly on cooperation activities as well as on the modernisation, harmonisation and development of tools and practices of common interest. In addition, a high-level annual meeting of OHIM and WIPO is envisaged to monitor the implementation of the cooperation agreement.