It must be the season for press releases, since the IPKat seems to be getting a lot of them of late. Here's another one which emanated yesterday from the UK's Intellectual Property Office, succinctly entitled "New trade mark services from the Intellectual Property Office make it cheaper and faster to kick start small businesses". According to this one:
"From October this year, businesses will be able to register trade marks more cheaply and easily [well, that can't be bad!] thanks to a number of new proposals announced today by the Intellectual Property Office.
In publishing its response to the ‘Helping businesses register trade marks and patents’ consultation paper, the Intellectual Property Office will implement a number of services aimed at strengthening business competitiveness throughout the UK.
[we've already been told twice that something good has been done. Now, even before we know what the changes are, we get the Minister's comment ...] David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property, said: "We are committed to supporting businesses in these difficult economic times, and our Right Start [not to be confused with Start-Rite] and E-filling initiatives [... which we still haven't been told about] make it easier and cheaper for trade mark owners, and in particular small businesses, to register and protect their brands. Registering a trade mark is an important step for a business to take. By protecting their intellectual property they are protecting their innovative ideas of the future. Failing to do this risks them losing their investment in developing successful brands for their products and services."
Proposals to be introduced include [at last!]:
A ‘Right Start’ service for trade marks. A business using the new 'Right Start' service will be able to defer payment of half the usual £200 trade mark application fee until after it has seen the Intellectual Property Office's assessment of whether the mark can be registered. [interesting idea, but it makes you wonder: if the deferring of £100 is going to make a meaningful difference to the viability of a small business, is the applicant dangerously undercapitalised?] If there any problems, the business will have an opportunity to informally discuss them with the trade mark examiner before deciding whether to proceed with the application and pay the balance of the fees [this informal discussion can be hugely helpful, especially when persuading traders not to opt for descriptive business identifiers. It would be great if this service could be offered before the applicant parts with any of his money, though].
An E-filling initiative. This will offer a £30 reduction in application fees for e-filed trade marks where the full discounted fee is paid at the time of filing and a £10 reduction in the application fee for e-filed patent applications. It also offers reduced fees for e-filed patent search and examination requests. [this probably benefits the IPO at least as much, if not more, than it benefits applicants -- but there's no harm in that].
[IPKat's helpful suggestion: this might be a good place to stick the Minister's comment, now we know what he's commenting about] The full responses to the consultation paper can be found on the Intellectual Property Office website".Merpel adds, oh look! Someone else has already registered Right Start in Class 16, though fortunately only for 'magazines relating to parenting skills; photographs; cards; posters; calendars'.