OHIM launches e-filing for Community designs

European Union

Pursuant to Decision EX-03-8, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) has started accepting electronic filing for Community designs. Electronic filing is part of a move towards a wholly paperless system and follows the introduction of online searches for Community designs (see OHIM introduces electronic search for Community designs).

The main advantage of electronic filing is that the designs, which must be uploaded in JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format, are not degraded by scanning. Other attachments (such as copies of priority documents) may be uploaded as PDFs (Portable Document Format). However, the system has its drawbacks:

  • The OHIM will not accept JPEG images that are larger (ie, contain a larger number of pixels) than the acceptable dimensions of a paper image - a source of frustration for ill-prepared applicants.

  • In the absence of a mechanism for uploading data from a records system or word-processed document, it is necessary to re-key data manually to fill out a lengthy online form.

  • An application filed electronically cannot contain more than 100 designs, whereas a paper application can contain an unlimited number of designs. (Although it may seem far-fetched that any application could contain more than 100 designs, the OHIM has already received several applications containing more than 200 designs.)

Until the OHIM introduces a system allowing the electronic exchange of data, it remains to be seen whether the benefits of avoiding scanning outweigh the inconvenience of re-entering data. So far, the uptake of electronic filing of Community trademarks (which has been possible since October 2002) has been relatively low, with only one in eight being filed electronically.

David Musker, RGC Jenkins & Co, London

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content