Our EUIPO Liaison Working Group works closely with the EUIPO, and will be using this page to update you with news about its work.
CITMA has been accepted for a place on one of the EUIPO's European Cooperation Project working groups - CP11 Workstream 2 (development of common practice on relative grounds examination of new types of marks). The first meetings will take place in November.
EUIPO – Stakeholder Quality Assurance Panels Project (SQAP) audit
Geoff Weller, Stobbs IP attended the SQAP audit meeting on behalf of CITMA:
"This session was the first audit on Absolute Grounds. As with the previous sessions it does feel like we are really contributing but it is also a very useful learning experience for me as well. As always we were all very well treated and entertained.
"We were each given eight decisions on which to be primary auditor and another eight to be secondary auditor. There was a higher volume than for Relative Grounds because as a whole the decision is less involved and there is less criteria and material in the file to review. The “decision” could simply be the application and the acceptance or it could be the refusal and applicant’s response etc. Mostly we did this in advance of the session but there was some checking time in the session. We had to audit for critical and non-critical errors and where these were found we then presented and there was a discussion. There was greater interaction with the examiners in this session with three examiners giving “their side”. It wasn’t all one way - the auditors were sometimes more for refusal than the examiner and sometimes more on the applicant’s side. Sometimes the examiners agreed with the auditor’s criticisms and sometimes they maintained their position (but all views were noted for the report). About a third of the decisions in this audit were flagged as having some form of error. We approved the report at the end of the last day. It believe the report will be sent out in about a month and also formally presented (by an auditor) at the next user association meeting.
"It was very interesting to refresh ones knowledge of the AG practice and guidelines. As a general observation I would say the biggest disparity was the auditors quite often felt a mark was descriptive / non-distinctive and not saved by its stylisation but the examiners (correctly as this was abut he correctness of the decision within the guidelines) maintained their position and cited CP3. There was quite a lot of turning to the examples in the guidelines/CP3 and umming and arring.
"We also had a visit to the room where applications are pre-checked and approved or sent to an examiner to draft a decision and learned more about the internal process.
"We also had a presentation on the office’s experience so far on examining EU Certification marks and on the results of the recent user satisfaction survey."
The next SQAP is back on Relative Grounds later in the year (3rd-5th October) with the next absolute grounds session being 16th-18th Jan 2019.