WHAT CONNECTS THE TRADEMARK OFFICES OF ARMENIA, GERMANY, INDIA AND THE US?
By Adam Smith
World Trademark Review
June 15 2011
New research by an Indian law firm has found that the trademark offices
of Armenia, Germany, India and the United States offer the best online
services for brand owners. The trend of offices providing such services
as access to their trademarks register is moving throughout the world,
albeit slowly. But Armenia, Germany, India and the United States are
leading the way.
The data comes from Chander Lall, partner at Lall & Sethi, who was
tasked with convening a session at the recent INTA annual meeting on
effective use of online tools. Preparing for the session, Lall realised
that indexing of office internet resources could be very useful. "There
are numerous new resources available on the internet virtually on a
daily basis," he told WTR. "All over the world, trademark offices are
adding new resources for users." Lall explained that a preliminary
survey revealed that the USPTO was perhaps the most advanced in terms
of online resources. So he threw his net wider, with the following
USPTO services as a benchmark:
Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS): Database of registered
trademarks and prior pending applications to find marks that may
prevent registration due to a likelihood of confusion.
Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS): To access electronic
forms for domestic submissions of trademark registration or any other
form capable of being filed online.
Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR): To retrieve
information about pending and registered trademarks using trademark
serial number or registration number.
Trademark Document Retrieval (TDR): To view and download any or
all contained in the electronic file wrapper of pending trademark
applications and registrations.
According to the research, no other trademark office offered TDR. The
next tier down from the one containing the top four offices includes
the 26 offices that offer TEAS, TARR and TESS (four of the offices
in this band charge for TESS). The 26 include offices in Australia,
Belgium, Canada and United Kingdom, with perhaps more surprising
appearances from Brunei Darussalam and Yemen. At the other end of
the scale, in the tier established for the offices that offer none
of the above services, entries include Argentina, Bulgaria, Egypt,
Greece and United Arab Emirates.
Speaking in the INTA workshop, Bruce Longbottom, Eli Lilly's trademark
counsel, said that office tools like those detailed above can save
in-house counsel a great deal of time and money. "We came up with a
first-step in-house search for knock-out searches," said Longbottom.
"That's a cost-effective first step towards clearing. We also look
to do Net searching on engines like Google, because you might find
a mark that isn't registered, but you wouldn't want to use it. Does
that mean that outsource searching is obsolete? No, outsourced search
really has a function. Outsourced full searches are the last step in
a clearance process."
There is no doubt that a central index of the world's trademark
databases can be very valuable. Lall's survey, available in an
interactive spreadsheet format, assessed 188 offices and provides deep
links to the websites of the 63 offices that have online resources.
"It is therefore a perfect index for online trademarks office websites
worldwide," he says.
But its unique position might not last for long. INTA is conducting a
similar survey and will be building its own resource that could surpass
Lall's. "We've collected a lot of information on 185 countries,"
explained Michael Charles Wolnizer, partner at Davies Collison
Cave. "You'll be able to search on a country-by-country basis and run
reports on various questions. It's not finished yet - we have a little
bit of work to do, but it is a useful resource." Wolnizer added that
INTA members should expect the tool to go live by November this year.
In the meantime, WTR readers keen to get their hands on Lall's useful
and practical trademark office data can email him on email@example.com.
PS: News like this really suits my mind. There are so many areas of Internet business that Armenia can make a difference. I really wish some real steps were taken to facilitate electronic government.
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