Lost in the post

A sincerely committed IP enthusiast and practitioner has emailed the following missive to the Kats:
"I was wondering if any other IPKat readers ever wondered why we can't file an application to register a design online with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO)? It seems strange, particularly since it has provided a service to file trade marks online. I understand that the IPO has separate departments, and there may perhaps be issues with uploading large files to its website. However, recently a posted application was lost in the mail, which was of particular concern because the applicant requested deferred publication. When we realised what happened, we were able to file a copy of the application by forwarding a PDF of it via email. But why couldn't we just file the application online, or simply file the application via email in the first place? It seems very old-fashioned that we have to apply to register a design via post, particularly one where there is no difficulty representing the design on paper".
Lost in the post here, here and here
Lost in the flood here
Where do missing letters go?
Caught in the act of eating yet another design
application, Merpel promises to stick to something
more digestible next time ...
Lost in the post Lost in the post Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, August 29, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Absolutely - this is an improvement we really need to see. It's not just lost in the post but image quality too. I receive images by email, print them post them and the IPO scan them. It introduces all sorts of weird artefacts. This is unnecessary. Often clients have many designs and the UK is the only market in Europe for their product. They want to use the UK IPO and there is a difference between £60 and €350. Is there any way OHIM could makes it's software available to the IPO. indeed a national only option on the OHIM website would work too. Many businesses prefer to do this themselves and IPO should be encouraging them.

    Can we get ACID behind this campaign?

  2. The UKIPO publishes details of customer feedback on its website. In a reply given in Q4 2010 it said, "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."

  3. 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.

    Intellectual Property Office

  4. The thing that I find even more incredible is why anyone bothers to file UK design registrations at all when an EU-wide system costs only a few quid more.
    Perhaps this answers the question in the original posting - there are so few UK designs filed that it is not good value for money setting up online filing.

  5. Delighted with the IPO response and dissapointed by annonymous. Registration is far better than hoping to rely on copyright or whinging to the media but for many products if the business is not selling into Europe the UK is plenty. A simple agent-free online registration system would benefit all.

  6. I want to react to Keith Hodkinson’s observation, as reported in Jeremy ‘s post. Keith is reported to have written “Get the UK to join Hague and then file online via WIPO”. But why wait for the UK to join? The point is that the UK being a member of the EU, and the EU being a member of Hague, anyone in the UK can already file under the Hague. Some do and thus, for a few quids more, get design protection in the whole of the EU plus its major neighboring markets such as Switzerland and Turkey.


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