Government launches consultation for new trade marks and designs services

22nd Aug 2023

The Government has launched a second consultation on proposed changes to the UK IPO’s digital services, broadly focused on issues relating to trade marks and designs. 

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The consultation will gather data to feed into work on developing new digital trade marks, designs and tribunal services, launching in 2025. 

The new consultation, which will close on 31st October 2023, will seek input on a variety of topics relevant to trade mark professionals, including:

A proposal to change or abolish series marks

The consultation will seek to identify the particular value of series marks, which represent about 10% of domestic trade mark applications.

At present, a rejection rate of 17% for represented applicants suggests that series marks are not consistently being used correctly or to their full potential.

Increasing mediation within tribunals 

Although mediation is currently encouraged by the UK IPO as an alternative to litigation, the government wishes to gather views on what changes would allow mediation to be a realistic possibility in more – or all – IPO tribunal proceedings.

This coincides with the launch of the new digital service for hearings and tribunals, which will be available from 2025.

New online document inspection service 

The government is proposing to introduce a new digital service that will allow the public to view documents relating to trade mark and design applications online.

This will remove the current requirement for members of the public to attend the IPO’s offices in person or order copies of documents to view this information.

Public inspection of documents and requests for confidentiality   

The government proposes to bring trade marks and designs legislation into line with patents legislation on confidentiality of information and public inspection of documents. 

Adam Williams, IPO CEO said: 
“The One IPO transformation programme is not just about better digital services, but also updating the legislation, policy and practice that underpins the IP system. This consultation is the next important step on that journey.” 

“The consultation also marks the start of the next phase of our work to deliver the new digital trade marks, designs and tribunal services. I’m excited to work with customers to shape the new services.” 

CITMA President Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy said:
“The One IPO transformation project is complex and ambitious and is set to revolutionise how IP rights are filed and managed.

“It is particularly exciting that the work on the trade marks and designs elements is about to begin and this consultation is an opportunity to shape how that work will look.

“Following the previous consultation on transformation, the UK IPO has taken on board feedback from the IP profession, including CITMA, resulting in a number of improvements.

The consultation document, and details of how to respond, can be found here.

Additionally, the UK IPO invites trade mark and designs service users to share what they will need from the new digital services. To register to take part in the research, please email: [email protected]