Attracted... not by a silver spoon , but by an email sent out to ITMA members by the industrious Gillian Rogers,
this Kat on Monday lunchtime attended an event at CIPA Hall relating to the OHIM and UKIPO
Mediation services (see here), co-organised by CIPA and ITMA. The lunchtime event was well attended and despite
lasting for roughly two hours, the speakers' engaging styles managed to hold everyone's
attention well. Something my post - sadly
- does not quite reflect.
The first part of the event - and the first of my planned two IPKat posts - focussed on OHIM's Mediation Service: a so far rather unknown quantity to many trade mark practitioners. It appears that there has not been much information about this service since it was first launched in 2011 (see IPKat post here) so that at least some of the attendees were wondering how "OHIM was getting on …?". A second IPKat post on the UK IPO 's meditation service will follow.
Where will an OHIM mediation take place? The options are: Alicante (no charges, the service is free and this is where OHIM is based) and Brussels (which will attract a 750 Euro fee for travel costs, etc.). It is also possible to conduct mediation by video conference, even though "nothing replaces a direct meeting."
If all works well by the end of the day, at least the heads of an agreement will be drafted and signed. It is however difficult to agree on all details of a settlement agreement and have a complete agreement drafted. Alexandra added that it is a flexible and facilitative process - which tends involve a lot of tea and coffee. Given the often intensive nature of such negotiations, OHIM's famous Cantina also appears to play an important role in keeping participants well nourished.
One of the questions already raised at the event was that some mediators also serve on OHIM's BoA - does this not pose a conflict? OHIM is aware of this and OHIM mediators are always independent and will not have been involved in the respective proceedings. Another interesting question was why OHIM restricts its mediation to the Board of Appeal level (this is in contrast to the UKIPO). Mr Margellos answered this by pointing out that meditation at OHIM was still a pilot project and OHIM may in the future also be offering mediation at a first instance level - whether this will happen will largely depend on the demand by its users.