Fight with piracy and forgery reinforced in European Community

Authors: Erikas Saukalas, an Associate Partner, Head of International Relations Division in METIDA, Mykolas Jakutis, an Assistant to Attorney-at-Law in METIDA

Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) is the official authority carrying out the procedures for the Community trade marks since 1996 and for the Community registered design from 2003. Being the essential institution related to the intellectual property law, OHIM faces some serious changes which may affect the regulated order in the trademark protection world.

Recently, OHIM has announced that Paul Maier, currently president of the Boards of Appeal, is to head up the office’s Observatory. The move is part of a restructure, which establishes a new department overseeing the OHIM Academy as the Observatory gears up for its first work programme – expected to kick off in March 2013.

On June 5, 2012, regulation entrusting OHIM with the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, took effect – giving OHIM responsibility for a wide range of tasks relating to research, training, communication, the development of advanced IT support tools and the enforcement of all types of IP rights. The move will bring the Cooperation Fund includes two projects specifically aimed at supporting the enforcement of IP rights – a database tool to facilitate the access of enforcement officers to IP registries and the exchange of information with rights holders in order to help identify counterfeits; and a counterfeiting and piracy support system to gather, analyse and report data and information. One of the observatory’s key aims will be to provide a methodology that underpins this system and allows us to properly report the scope and scale of counterfeiting and piracy in the European Union. Once the methodology has been developed, the next step will be to exploit it further and try to identify trends in specific sectors.

The announcement outlines the creation of a new department, which brings the OHIM Academy, the office’s training and knowledge-sharing hub, into the Observatory structure. Maier, due to take up the reins in January 2013, has been at OHIM since 1995. Previously chief advisor to the president of the office and director of the designs department, he was nominated president of the Boards of Appeal in December 2005. Commenting on the appointment, OHIM president A. Campinos stated that Maier is “known across the IP landscape for his sound leadership, technical expertise and all-round experience. We couldn’t have got the Observatory off on a better footing.”

If everything goes as planned, the first projects in the observatory’s first work programme will kick off in March 2013.

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