Tim Lince

The latest issue of World Trademark Review magazine is now available online to subscribers. In this issue, we undertook an ambitious research project to identify the IP offices around the world that are committed to exploring value-add non-core offerings for its users. The EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) topped the final ranking, reflecting its innovative suite of trademark tools and service.

Over the last decade, the services being offered at many IP offices has gone far beyond the core responsibility of maintaining a trademark register. Most IP offices have introduced e-filing, while others have launched such services as trademark dispute mediation and IP legal advice for SMEs. Furthermore, many release regular research and use social media platforms to raise awareness of trademark-relevant issues to the public. To reflect these efforts, we asked over 100 trademark practitioners across the world about the non-core tools and services offered at the top 40 IP offices (by 2015 filing count). Totalling the 12 metrics we looked at, the final ranking is led by the EUIPO, with the French (INPI) and Singaporean (IPOS) offices in joint second place, and the South Korean (KIPO), United Kingdom (UKIPO) and United States (USPTO) offices just behind them.

The EUIPO ranked highly for a number of reasons. It regularly releases trademark-relevant research and hosts numerous events across the year. Perhaps the crucial element that set it apart is the office’s work on digital trademark tools (primarily enabled by the cooperation fund), which have led the way in terms of online usability and technical proficiency. In fact, as a result of the fund, every IP office in the EU now has trademark e-filing capability. “The EUIPO has invested in a modern, approachable design and provides clear explanations about trademarks without relying on legalese,” summarised Nehal Madhani, chief executive of Alt Legal, a US service provider which assisted in the online metrics of our research.

To look further at how offices can go about implementing more non-core tools and services for users, the new edition also features an article written by the chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, who offers his perspective on why IP offices need to evolve into “innovation agencies” and how they can do it.

Elsewhere, our cover story looks at the latest version of the Brand Finance Global 500 (which we covered last month). While the most eye-catching result is Google overtaking Apple at the top, the magazine feature highlights the continuing rise of Chinese brands and notes how the most valuable brands list could look very different in coming years.

Finally, we gave some of the largest online marketplaces – including Alibaba, eBay, JD.com and MercadoLibre – an opportunity to advise to IP counsel on the best way to use their rights protection mechanisms. Their responses, which includes common mistakes made when using mechanisms, should be helpful for any practitioner seeking to combat sales of counterfeits on major e-commerce platforms.

There are, of course, many more feature articles in the edition and our usual news, columns and insights. Hard copies of the magazine are being mailed out to subscribers, and the online version is available here.

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