Munich 22 October 2010
The President of OHIM, António Campinos, has given his first speech since taking office on 1 October 2010. Mr Campinos told members of the distinguished German intellectual property organisation Markenverband, at the organisation’s annual forum in Munich on 22 October, that he intended to build upon the current strong foundations at OHIM, taking it forward as a high-quality, reactive, customer-centred organisation, capable of tackling the challenges thrown up by the 21st Century. In a broad-ranging speech he covered a number of points, illustrated in the extracts from his speech included in the speaking notes below.
Key challenges for OHIM:
"The first challenge that OHIM faces is related to our central mission, which is to manage the Community trade mark and design Registration Systems. Here the fundamental goal must be to continue and accelerate our efforts to absorb our backlogs and prevent the creation of new ones. We must continue to reduce the time between the granting or refusal of a trade mark or design while the number of applications grow. Last but not least, we must take the quality of our services to a whole new level.
The second major challenge is related to the on-going study of the European Commission, which will next year put forward to the council legislative proposals that will have a profound impact for decades to come on the management of the Community trade mark and design systems. Within our own competencies, and in close cooperation with the Commission, we must seize this opportunity to modernize the management of these systems in terms of processes and governance. We must also take care to ensure that our registrations are not linked with national markets - for that would undermine the reality of a common market.
This second challenge is also linked, at least partly, to the results of the extraordinary Administrative Board meeting when the foundations were laid for the last CTM fee cut, and for a wider and most fruitful cooperation with the national IP offices in the EU.
We need to work harder at including all our stakeholders – member states, Commission and users. Improving our relationship will depend on our capacity to enhance and accelerate cooperation at an EU level. As already mentioned, out of the September 2008 meeting arose the fifty million euro OHIM Cooperation Fund, which is an unprecedented opportunity to modernise and bring closer together, in a single step, the European Union’s intellectual property offices…
… All this is good news, but of course cooperation is not an end in itself. Cooperation must ultimately benefit users: And as users have repeatedly said they wish us to concentrate on online individual and common searchable databases, on online filing, opposition, cancellation, and registration and payment systems and on interoperable user-friendly systems. We will do so, and in doing it we will strengthen the European systems of trade marks and designs and at the same time we will cement trust between us."Regarding his previous role as Chairman of OHIM’s Administrative Board and the extraordinary board meeting in September 2008, which among other things laid the foundations for the CTM fee cut and at which the invitation of users to join the Board as observers was decided:
"As you know, the agreement which came out of the extraordinary meeting of the Administrative Board two years ago was a compromise, balancing the interests of all stakeholders including national offices and users. As well as cutting CTM fees and agreeing to review them again every two years, it was decided to share 50% of CTM renewal fees with national offices, and to set up the OHIM Cooperation Fund. We also agreed that an overall evaluation of the European trade mark system should be carried out. I am happy to have been able to help broker this agreement. Breaking the deadlock was very important for the future well-being of the Community trade mark and designs and we must continue to move forward in a spirit of cooperation."
Recent performance of the Office and his intention to drive for a significant increase in quality:
"While in recent years, the Office has been able to improve its performance considerably, as with any other success story, there is always room for further improvement and adjustments.
YES, we should be fast, YES we should be consistent and predictable in our decisions and YES we should provide value for money. YES we should do all these things together.
In doing so we will need to ask ourselves hard questions about whether further investment is needed to deliver a better service in ways that are meaningful to customers. We may think we are doing a good job, but there is a need for more objective, international standards and bench-marking. The challenge of quality emerges as a consequence of OHIM’s very nature, as a European public service. To transform OHIM into a true organisation of excellence, complying with modern and recognized standards and renowned as such, by its staff, by national offices, by international organisations and - most of all - by its users, should constitute our first priority.
Quite recently the Office achieved ISO 9001 certification for RCD processing. As part of this "quality first" policy we are now considering setting out the goal of getting ISO 9001 for the whole office."Attitude towards possible new competencies for OHIM:
"The 2008 meeting also pointed the way towards new areas of competence, such as enforcement. You have heard what we are doing to help under the Cooperation Fund. I would ask you if you think we should do more.
What point is there having a reactive and efficient Community trade mark and design registration system, if at the enforcement stage, each country does its own thing? Community trade marks and designs are very successful, and we have built up a substantial surplus. We have an obligation, and potentially the resources, to do some things to make the whole system work better, and that’s what we will be looking into.
At the same time, we must also look closely at the added value that we can bring to initiatives such as the Commission’s Observatory on counterfeiting. Over the coming years we have to roll out an ambitious program of cooperation which should, among other things, include the fight against counterfeiting as recommended by the European Commission in the recent Communication on the enforcement of industrial property rights in the Internal Market.
The years ahead will almost certainly see us doing more for users, on a wider range of competencies. Put forward the suggestions: if they can add value for our users, we are ready to listen…"OHIM’s commitment to consultation and transparency:
"Don’t worry, we won’t be making changes without consultation. We will be talking to all our stakeholders including the member states and the Commission. Above all, we will be talking to YOU the users."