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IP office workshop launched

In a new initiative at this year’s Annual Meeting, INTA is hosting a series of panels for IP offices, all of which take place today. The workshop will provide representatives of many offices—both regional and national, big and small—with an opportunity to compare best practices, share challenges and learn from each other.

The day’s programming has been put together by representatives of the UK IP Office (UKIPO), the IP Office of Singapore and Chile’s INAPI. “National offices have long used the INTA Annual Meeting as an opportunity to meet each other informally, and we’re delighted that INTA has this year provided some space for a closed meeting,” Steve Rowan, Divisional Director Trade Marks and Designs at the UKIPO, told the INTA Daily News.

The discussions, which will consist of a series of panels each comprising a moderator and three speakers from different offices, will address issues such as productivity, efficiency, quality, outreach and enforcement.

“There are quite a lot of opportunities for work sharing in patents, such as patent prosecution highways, but not so much at present in trademarks,” said Maximiliano Santa Cruz Scantlebury, Director of INAPI. “But in Chile we have an open policy and are very active in regional and worldwide cooperation.” As well as cooperating with other offices in Latin America, INAPI has worked on projects with the Canadian and Australian offices.

One area for cooperation in electronic filing and management tools: INAPI now receives 80% of trademark applications online and Santa Cruz says he wants to extend this to renewals, so that they can be done in “three minutes rather than three months.”

Rowan pointed out that there is already a degree of cooperation between national offices in Europe, with some common IT systems and harmonization of some formality requirements. The UKIPO, like others, also hosts visits and exchanges with other offices: it recently welcomed representatives from 15 Caribbean countries.

While officials have an opportunity to discuss substantive issues at meetings such as WIPO’s Standing Committee on Trademarks, today is expected to provide an opportunity to liaise on more practical issues, from software tools to HR management to tips when joining the Madrid System. “We came up with a very long list of issues, so there will be plenty to talk about—and hopefully this will become an annual event,” said Rowan.

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