For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Problems with the OHIM database: prioritising the solutions

The IPKat's friend, fellow blogger and IP practitioner Barbara Cookson has prepared the following memorandum which does not seek to carp about the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) but rather to pinpoint specific issues involving the functionality of its relaunched website -- issues which not just Barbara but many others have encountered. She has asked the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) if it can use its good offices to help OHIM in the ordering of its priorities.  This Kat wonders whether there are other issues that readers would like to raise, as well as problems with the website's functionality and even fixes or ways of resolving difficulties encountered so far. Anyway, Barbara's list looks like this:

Issues with OHIM database
It was disappointing to see that the promised list of remaining snags that OHIM promised to publish on 10 January failed to materialise

Priority 1

Communications cannot be sent reliably except by fax. 
Communications cannot be sent at all in respect of cancellations. This is a serious downgrade as proof of use is very difficult to fax and sending duplicate colour printouts expensive and time-consuming particularly when the original documents are available electronically. 
The communication appears to be sent and the only clue that there has been a problem is a little red exclamation mark in the sent tab


Priority 2

The tutorials at http://oami.europa.eu/knowledge/course/view.php?id=1657 all seem to be silent if they are available at all. Monday 13th at 09:40 page was not there. 
Alerts – newly set up alerts seem to be triggered by historic changes of ownership and representation rather than new events only. 
Neither the alert email or the Alert Inbox allow access to eSearch and the trademark record. There is no way to act on the alert or find out more information without conducting a fresh search. In the previous implementation access to CTM-Online was provided by the email. 
Download button produces only an empty Zip file. 
PDF display “Don’t show this message again” on Correspondence is always displayed. 
eSearch Print button functionality fails to Adobe PDf printer (but do print to paper printers) 
%%[ ProductName: Distiller ]%% 
X36D4CB59 not found, using Courier. 
XCBA36FA6 not found, using Courier. 
%%[ Error: invalidfont; OffendingCommand: xshow ]%% 
Stack:
[68 31 61 68 68 62 31 55 31 62 55 56 31 68 55 62 37 31 68 0]

Drafts are unavailable. 
Advertisement show in a pop-up  which makes printing difficult. 
In some old cases all you get is ‘this publication is available on paper’ 
For recent publications where the Mark is an image, the link to the representation in the advertisement reports an error even though the image file is correctly displayed in esearch. 
The time to log in (20Seconds at best to several minutes)  and switch between options in the User Area  (7 seconds at best – 15 -35s) and move to eSearch( 7 seconds) is unacceptably high.  The requirement to keep logging in again and to remain logged in to do useful work is frustrating.

Priority 3

Esearch layout changes last only as long as a login rather than being remembered. 
Opening new tab warning’s Do not show the message again tick box does not work. 
The links to online forms and other widgets in the user area are only visible when the dashboard option is active and given the time to switch back and forth the between options in the dashboard area this can be frustrating. 
When following the link to “renew a community trademark online” you go to a form which asks what type of action you want to do. Having repeated the request to renew. You are then asked what you want to renew, which makes following the link a rather redundant process in terms of usability. The other way into this online form via eSearch is probably not yet been discovered by the majority of users. 
Just before Christmas 23 December they responded to most error reporting emails demanding that we make expensive phone calls to Spain.

The launch of the new website on 2 December 2013 was accompanied by various technical problems that have led to a huge increase in phone calls and emails. While phone calls are attended in a timely and efficient manner, we are sorry for not being able to answer the emails relating to the new website in the same way.

With the recent repairs performed, the main issues raised should be solved. You can find information on the progress we are making to fix the technical problems at the following address:
https://oami.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/news-and-events.

Should your query not be solved yet or should you still need our support regarding the new website, we invite you to contact us by phone from 8:30 to 18:30. We are confident that by treating this issue by phone rather than by email we will be able to tackle directly the issue with you and take steps to resolve the matter efficiently.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and remain at your disposal.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Making design right applications via the OHIM online filer is only possible through internet explorer and then only if you begin and end the form in one sitting. There is a save progress button and a success message tells you that you can access your draft for 7 days, viewing your drafts then show 0 results.

I hope this helps anyone struggling for the time being,

Jimmy

Aaron said...

I wish Barbara's comments were the only issues...

the new set up regarding documents on file is terrible. In the old system documents were filed in particular places and you could see the number of pages before downloading.

Now they are dumped in date order and you cannot see the size. This makes it very difficult indeed to find larger documents. If you select multiple documents and download them all into a zip file only the first page of each document is sent.

If you are going to re-engineer a website to try and burn some money, at least TRY to make the new one work.

Barbara Cookson said...

A couple of points made to me by those who prefer not to risk their reputations with OHIM by commenting themselves

Chrome might give you something in the download Zip file

The Sign Up procedure is for owners and representatives only but there are enquirers not in these classes who are fully entitled to make file inspections. Why are we shutting them out or persuading them to use false information. PS there is a grammatical error too in:
"A lawyer/legal practitioner action on behalf of an association/law firm.

We would really like the tutorials and learning page to work. There are folk out there who need to know which buttons to use to get to be able to file Appeal communications for example. The delights of the widgets (can we have them above the fold) are a mystery to many and its not intuitive that you fill in the search in the box. Early I got some tips from the twitter feed.

Print to screen wont work if you are in fuull screen but if you make it small and click on the background before use PrtScn you can get what you need. Not ideal though - being able to print from a button to pdf is the paperless way.

Loading times are a problem outside the UK too

Anonymous said...

If only these were the only issues, the new website filing platform is not satisfactory. The user has no confidence that when they embark on a filing that they will actually get it on file- both for CTMs and RCDs. OHIM needs, as a matter of priority, to provide an alternative stable filing platform.

Canettchen said...

My Problem is: When I want to take any action, like renewal or change of representative, I will be forwarded to the account of some other law firm. I had 3 different law firms in the last 3 days shown in the menu above the page and there is no possibility to come out of this and take the action I wanted.

Barbara Cookson said...

Hi @Cannettchen you are using the useful buttons in the eSearch plus register record that go straight to these actions and it is putting in the wrong user as the Requester. I had that happen once. Its probably a problem with your user ID that only OHIM can correct. I assume other people have not been using your PC. I did see that for some Representatives there are associates associated with them that are clearly wrong or historic.

Good Luck.

I am pleased to see that today we have some tips explained. See the link here

Wendy Johnson said...

This post is over a month old, but I have been away for a lovely long holiday and am only just catching up with what has happened while I was away. In relation to being able to download correspondence documents on file, I see that nothing has happened! Like all workplaces that use Internet Explorer we are being forced to use a workaround devised by our IT department that allows us to secretly use Google Chrome to view the documents on file. Anyone else have any further thoughts? I have called it in to OHIM and they told me it is listed as a high priroty for them...

Anonymous said...

We sent in February some documents to OHIM through e-communication but it seems that because of their new website the documents did not reach the Office. Now OHIM does not accept that there was a problem with their new website and states that we did not send the documents. Is anyone having the same problem? This is totally wrong, we have proof that the documents were sent, but still OHIM does not accept it.

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