Q: You have a robust filing practice for trademarks and designs. How do you ensure that the firm is positioned to meet the varied filing needs of particular clients?
A: At METIDA we always focus on the client. Our goal is to serve them with the best quality by offering our unique value proposition. Our portfolio is diversified according to our target markets; thus, all clients receive the best customer service when they need it, in whichever language they expect and in the form that they prefer. Communication is another important component. Our communication strategy and content are targeted so that specific client groups only receive information that is relevant for them and are not overloaded with unnecessary material. Finally, we send client satisfaction surveys to find out how we can improve our services, work and other relevant aspects. In this way, clients help us to grow.
Q: How do the firm’s attorneys keep abreast of the latest developments at both EU and national level?
A: Constant professional growth and IP competence development go hand in hand with METIDA’s business strategy and vision. METIDA professionals continually strengthen their IP knowledge through internal and external resources. Attorneys and lawyers organise weekly internal seminars for colleagues to share court case practice, as well as any other relevant and latest trends in IP prosecution and litigation work. All professionals attend local and international conferences (eg, those held by INTA, the European Communities Trademark Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property and the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys). Some of our attorneys at law and patent attorneys are also members of the Lithuanian Patent Attorney Association, where they contribute towards approving new legal regulations and acts, while improving their competence in the field of intellectual property. Our IP professionals find it particularly useful to attend events organised by the EUIPO on the latest trends in EU trademarks and designs. They attend webinars and study individually as well.
Q: What is your assessment of the EUIPO’s performance over the past year, and are there any areas that could be improved?
A: We work with the EUIPO on a daily basis. In general, we are extremely happy with the office’s e-filling system, finding it fast and convenient. If we have any questions or problems regarding a specific matter, the information centre staff are very kind and always help to solve the problem. The only issue is with sending communications through fax (eg, notifications about technical failures during the design filing process).. Letters via fax often fail to be sent due to technical difficulties. There is no other way to send these communications because the EUIPO does not accept communications via email. There are cases when a notice must be sent on the same day due to deadlines, and if the communication cannot be sent by fax, these deadlines may be missed.
Q: What developments or cases should trademark practitioners be following with respect to the European trademarks landscape?
A: Practitioners should be following all developments related to changes in trademark and design registration procedures, as well as litigation procedures. Especially important are the latest practice cases and decisions. METIDA’s IP professionals must be familiar with all aspects of the EU trademark and Community design law, and how the EUIPO applies the law in practice, as well as proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union and other IP issues. Our aim is to constantly broaden the basic competences, including preparing and filing applications, presenting cases with well-structured evidence, drafting effective responses to ex officio trademark objection letters and managing the procedural issues arising during opposition, invalidity and appeal proceedings.
Q: If you could make one change to the EU filing landscape, what would it be?
A: Since everything is going online now, there is one solution that the EUIPO could implement to facilitate the filing process for all users. Unfortunately, the office offers no web service or application programming interface at the moment. This IT solution would allow us to integrate our customer relationship and document management platforms, together with the EUIPO filing system and in this way make all trademark and design processes much easier and faster. It would also be helpful if the EUIPO database could enable users to filter trademark and design information in more detail – for example, not only according to the representative but also through more information about the owner (eg, country of origin).