Achievements and New Perspectives
Edited by Christophe Geiger
Appendix: Christian Archambeau
The past few decades have seen many advances in the European IP system. When OHIM was established as the intellectual property office for the EU in 1994, its founders had ambitious goals: naming it the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs). The Community trade mark (CTM) officially came into being on 1 January 1996, in an important first step towards the completion of the internal market for protection of industrial property rights. In 2004 we started registering Community designs which were also an immediate success. From the start, demand for CTMs was two to three times higher than had been initially expected. This created a challenge to deliver the fast, high-quality service desired by customers. The early years were dominated by the need to keep up with the pace of applications, and the subsequent legal steps associated with administering registrations, such as oppositions, appeals and cancellations. By the end of 2010, with CTM applications reaching 98 000, the time to register a CTM had dropped to 26 weeks for straightforward files – less than one-third of the time taken in 2004. For Community designs, with just under 82 000 received last year, for customers adopting some simple filing rules, 48- hour design registration is now a reality, and we have committed to informing customers about any problems in other files within 10 days. In effect, 2010 was the year when the Office finally caught up in a race against generally rising demand that started when it opened for business in 1996.
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