WIPO press release UPD/2007/293, dated yesterday but (it appears) issued today, says that World Intellectual Property Organization member states are stepping up work on a number of topical issues relating to trade marks and industrial designs, following the 17th session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) last week. In short, the SCT considered:
Merpel awaits her invitation to the next meeting of the SCT. This, she is convinced, would not only provide a welcome voice for thin cats among some of the fatter cats that observe the proceedings but would also offer a little gritty reality to roughen up the smooth diplomacy of international debate on matters of IP reform.
New Types of Marks. This exchange, which will continue at the forthcoming 18th session in respect of other types of marks, such as motion marks, position marks, hologram marks, slogans, smell, feel and taste marks, is expected to result in a set of practices for member states relating to the representation of those types of marks in trade mark office procedures.
Trade mark opposition. "The SCT spent considerable time on the issue of trademark registration opposition procedures", the press statement says. Not as much time (says the IPKat) as applicants and opponents spend, if Community trade mark practice is an accurate indicator.
Left: opposition procedures in some jurisdictions are in urgent need of reform
Next time around, the SCT will consider a document with "key learnings derived from the experiences of various national and regional offices concerning opposition procedures". The Kat hopes that these "key learnings" will also reflect the experiences of applicants, proprietors and opponents, since office procedures are a means to a real commercial end, not an end in themselves.
Industrial designs. The SCT has "fine-tuned some 70 questions for a questionnaire concerning industrial design registration in member countries", this being a comprehensive survey on various industrial design registration systems and substantive law. "This initiative was ... is expected to yield a basis for future deliberations of the SCT whether approximation of design legislation is desirable and feasible" (desirable, yes, says the IPKat, for the sake of businesses that can't find their way through the current maze of national laws; feasible, alas ...)
Protection of State Emblems and names and abbreviations of non-governmental organizations. Who better than WIPO understands the importance of preserving one's own skin, asks the IPKat. Commendably the secretariat demonstrated a test version of a new online searchable database containing some 2,400 records of protected state emblems and names, abbreviations and emblems of intergovernmental organizations. Those signs are generally not available for trade mark use. "The database does not have any legal effect and inclusion of signs is of a purely informative nature", but the IPKat hopes it will soon be made available to us all, if for no other reason than we can remind ourselves of how many such organisations and bodies there are.