Q. The firm submits more than 1,500 trademarks and design applications for national, EU and international registration annually. What are the keys to success when managing and coordinating such volume?
A: The increasing number of applications comes from the rising volume of orders, as well as growing national and international client portfolios. Since our primary goal is to deliver premium quality service to our clients, we need to ensure a sound application submission procedure despite growing volumes of applications. Key factors that enable us to do this are calibrated processes, full or semi-automatisation, and the skills of our execution team. First, inside METIDA, we have very clear and simplified mapped application processes, which helps us to increase efficiency by saving time on routine tasks and avoiding mistakes. Second, our processes are either semi or fully automated using our advanced internal IT platform. Third, 30 years of experience handling high volumes of applications has helped us to build know-how inside our execution team with regard to how to perform these tasks in the best way.
Q. In addition to traditional IP practice focuses, the firm also specialises in the protection of personal data. To what degree is data now a key IP asset and how has the firm developed its expertise in this area?
A: Today we live in a data-driven world and the IP space is no exception. In our daily work, the METIDA team faces situations when data is critical when handling IP cases. You need to have access to data to analyse it and make decisions based on it. Data is also crucial when you are planning new services or adjusting your schedule of charges accordingly. Every day we work with data and it is great that more and more is becoming public and accessible – it is now possible to access EUIPO open-source data, as well as national patent office databases. We have developed our expertise in this area by learning a lot on the subject, reading, listening to seminars and applying it to our everyday work.
Q. What have been the highlights for the firm over the past year?
A: Every quarter the EUIPO releases a report about top filers, with METIDA taking a solid place among the top three. This is a considerable achievement and honour for our team and illustrates how many national and international clients trust us to handle their intellectual property. Being among these top filers for several years in a row has motivated us to make it to first place one day. Another important achievement or challenge for us was the shift from a traditional working environment to a working-from-home model because of the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. We adapted swiftly to these new working conditions and were able to perform all daily work as usual. Last but not least, METIDA has established some significant partnerships with colleagues in other jurisdictions and found trusted partners that allow us to offer new services to our clients and grow our service portfolio in general.
Q. EUIPO filings have soared to record levels over the past year. Do you expect this to continue and what impact will it have on clearance and prosecution work?
A: Because of global trends in online business, as more and more e-commerce players enter the online market, we believe that EUIPO filings will rise even more every year. A significant number of businesses that sell online will be forced to register their trademarks to protect them and to be competitive. The outcome of this tendency will positively affect IP firms or similar companies with a higher volume of work, but only if firms are prepared to execute this swiftly and efficiently. Demand for prosecution processes and clearance services will rise, together with the need for a particular type of IP professional.
Q. Finally, how do you see the EU trademark landscape changing over the next five years?
A: One tendency is evident – the number of EUIPO filings will grow because of e-commerce trends. If the economic situation remains unstable because of the global pandemic, national governments or the EUIPO will encourage and motivate businesses to protect their intellectual property by offering various subsidies or funding projects. For example, there was a big uptake for the EUIPO project COSME for European SMEs, launched at the beginning of 2021, with SMEs applying for financial support and protecting their trademarks or designs – part of an overall trend of boosting numbers of applications for EU trademarks. It will also be interesting to see how the UK situation develops and how Brexit affects the number of applications within the United Kingdom compared to EUIPO filings.