had to be led by a man who walked in front of the car,
carrying a red flag -- to prevent 'fatal accidents'
An interesting communication has come the IPKat's way. It seems to be about a rather delicate question -- do applicants for Community trade marks who are based outside the European Union really have to go to the trouble and expense of engaging a professional representative from within the EU? -- and it reads, in relevant part, like this:
"Proposed change of practice on professional representation
... the Office [for Harmonisation in the Internal Market] has proposed changing the existing practice with regard to the mandatory appointment of a professional representative within the EU for all Community trade mark applications coming from undertakings based outside the EU. ...
The Office has carefully reviewed the issue and has concluded that professional representation within the EU is only legally required if there need to be certain legal exchanges with the applicant. For example if there is some kind of deficiency, an Absolute Ground or class objection, an opposition or third party observation.The IPKat has a funny feeling that "users' associations" doesn't mean "associations of people who use trade marks", but rather "people who get paid by clients to represent them in matters concerning Community trade marks" but, since he doesn't know whether this is so, he couldn't possibly say. Merpel is absolutely certain, though, that there must be some incredibly important reason why non-EU-based Community trade mark applicants must be forced to instruct an EU professional representative -- possibly to protect them from fatal accidents -- and that the suggestion of "self-interest" must never be allowed to enter our thoughts.
The Office proposed, therefore, to remove the routine check on this question at the examination stage, and instead to only ask for an EU representative (if none is indicated) when a legal exchange is required. We believe this is in line with the legal requirements, fairer to the client, and more efficient from our point of view.
However, on sharing this point of view with user associations, we found there were strong objections from some of them. In order to allow these objections to be fully considered, we have decided not to introduce this change of practice. Instead, we will be asking the European Commission to consider the question as part of the ongoing review of the functioning of the trade mark system in Europe ...".