For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Online design filing: latest news

ODFAG (the Online Design Filing
Action  Group) is now sealing
up letter-boxes in order to prevent
postal filings ...
Spurred by the IPKat's earlier post ("Lost in the post", here) in which a correspondent asks why you can't file UK registered design applications online, Class 99 launched a little poll as to whether people think this is a good idea.  Admittedly the sample may be biased in that only respondents who use the internet and emails are ever likely to know about it, but the latest news from Class 99's cosy corner of the blogosphere is that, with five days left to vote, 100% of respondents think online filing is a good idea. Two comments on the original Katpost are worthy of note.  First, Peter Smith reminded us that the UK's user-friendly and helpful Intellectual Property Office (IPO) publishes details of customer feedback on its website. In a reply given in the final quarter of 2010 the IPO dealt with one such nugget of customer feedback as follows:
You said "I wonder if you are planning to expand your online filing service to include the filing of registered design applications. It seems presently, if you do not reside near London or Newport, then you must fax file (hoping the drawings are reproduced sufficiently) or file by post which effectively loses a day from the filing date. Please also confirm whether I can file patent formal drawings online using the subsequently filed documents form."We replied, Thank you for your email of 14 October which has been passed to me on the designs examination team. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. At present we do not offer any form of electronic filing for designs other than fax filing, as you acknowledge. However, we are in the process of upgrading our trade marks systems and on completion of this, although we do not yet have definite plans in place, it is possible that our designs systems may be reviewed in the same way."
An anonymous but helpful soul from the IPO added this:
"The IPO is committed to providing the best e-services to users. Whilst the recent focus has been on trade marks, work is underway to consider the options for updating and improving the systems that support UK design registration, including the introduction of an e-filing service. Views on the shape of the system will form part of a wider consultation on the registration and protection of designs to be launched later this year".
The IPKat hadn't realised that a wider consultation on the registration and protection of designs was quite so imminent, what with there being only 116 shopping days to Christmas and all that, and he pledges to do all he can to maximise awareness of this consultation within the IP communities.

The final comment comes from the Kat's old friend Keith Hodkinson (Marks & Clerk) who, in his inimitable manner, takes issue with the options offered by the Class 99 poll [Essentially, to the question "should there be online design registration?", the choice was between (i) yes, (ii) it doesn't matter, (iii) no]. Says Keith:
"Again, the obvious alternative is missing! Don't spend all that money on inventing yet another bespoke online filing system with its own quirks and idiosyncracies -- get the UK to join Hague and then file online via WIPO".
Readers who were wondering about the word "Again" might like a little explanation.  This refers to the IPKat's poll [which still has eight days to run] on what to do about those annoying unpaid costs orders in Community trade mark opposition proceedings.  The range of six options, which the IPKat thought quite generous, did not include Keith's brilliant if somewhat nuclear suggestion of scrapping costs orders entirely.

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