Creatives to pay less for IP rights

The UK’s creative consultancies are among the Europe-facing suppliers about to save 40 per cent on the total cost of protecting their business on the continent.

From May 1st, registration fees at Europe’s trademark office – formally the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market – will no longer be payable on applications.

Applicants to the OHIM who still have their case pending on the date will also pocket the 40% saving, meaning the cost of owning a community trademark is down to €900.

Officials hope cheaper bills for protecting their brand, product or service will make the system for small companies, whose growth the economy relies on, more palatable.

The price cut is the second from Europe's IP office in five years, mainly thanks to more efficiency, which has cut completion times from more than year to around 8 months.

“With attorney fees added on there is a reduction in the overall cost from
£2,800 to £2,200,” advised Mark Armitage, partner at law firm Withers and Rogers.

“Moreover, by a quirk, for any applications filed between now and the end of April, overall costs will be even less than after May 1st at around £1,800.

“[Applicants]…will be able to take advantage of the current lower filing fee, but not have to pay the current fee on registration as by the time they become ready for registration, the fees will have been abolished.”

Community trademarks are intellectual property rights covering the 27-nation EU bloc, and are recommended to creative traders who want protection beyond the land of their domestic IP office.

“Community trade mark registration has become a very good thing…for all businesses,” Mr Armitage said,“ - whether...creative freelancers or indeed any other business, large or small, in any part of the EU.”

For UK-only traders, the Intellectual Property Office is proposing to reduce fees for electronic trademark applications by 15 per cent, with other discounts for opposition to applications.

It also wants to give companies more ability to pay only part of the application fee up-front, in the hope that less money should end up being lost when applications are abandoned.

David Lammy, minister for intellectual property, said: “In the current economic climate, there is a risk that businesses will not protect their intellectual property, which will harm both those businesses and UK competitiveness in the longer term.

“We welcome the fee reduction announced by the European trade mark office. However we also recognise the need for the Intellectual Property Office to keep improving its services”.

To this end, the price cut and other measures, including a new 'early assistance' service for new trade mark applicants, will be consulted upon before taking effect in October.


8th April 2009

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