Weekly take: Time for EUIPO to decide its leadership future
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Weekly take: Time for EUIPO to decide its leadership future

EUIPO_2k-comp.jpg

Behind the sensational headlines on Christian Archambeau’s directorship there is still an IP office to run, and confidence in its effectiveness is key

By now, many of you will have digested yesterday’s exclusive news that the EUIPO has suspended key administrative powers held by its executive director Christian Archambeau.

From now until the end of his term in October, Archambeau will no longer be able to authorise contracts on behalf of the EUIPO and exercise other key powers.

The decision was taken after Archambeau filed a claim for compensation over the non-renewal of his contract. He is seeking compensation worth €400,000 ($426,000) in lost earnings and €75,000 in damages.

The current state of this sorry affair is that we now have an executive director in all but name.

In fact, my colleague Rory O’Neill (who has been leading this coverage) and I were due to interview Archambeau this morning, March 8, but the interview was cancelled by his team late last night.

There were no official reasons provided, but if interviews with journalists are no longer taking place and other powers have been stripped, you have to wonder how much influence the executive director now has.

Minding the shop

I’m reminded of a story I covered in a previous role about a major law firm that collapsed into administration.

When I was investigating the reason behind the collapse, one former partner told me the firm had operated without a managing partner for six months.

“How can a business run for six months with no managing partner?” they asked. “Who was minding the shop?”

I’m not suggesting that the EUIPO is on the brink of collapse, but clearly some form of stability and leadership is needed – especially when you consider that it is one of the largest and most important IP offices in the world.

Whisperings of disputes between director and staff and of ever-increasing tensions are great for journalists but not so great for business.

October, which is when Archambeau was due to step down, is still seven months away. And after a difficult 2022, in which EU trademark filings dropped for the first time since 2008, the office needs confidence – and quickly.

The reasons for Archambeau's failure to secure an extension to his mandate are outlined here, but the dip in filings was a significant factor.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that both Archambeau and other practitioners have pointed out that factors beyond the EUIPO’s control, such as an economic downturn and war in Ukraine, also contributed to the dip.

In the meantime, either Archambeau and his opponents should agree to temporarily down weapons and resolve their differences until a successor is found, or he should resign now and let a temporary director take charge.

I make no comment on which would be the best option – and indeed on who is best placed to take charge come October – but if things continue as they are then we could be in for a long seven months.

Time for a decision. Either muddle on through or look to the future now.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

The firm was among multiple winners at a record-breaking 2024 ceremony held in London on April 11
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The Americas research cycle has commenced. Do not miss this opportunity to nominate your work!
Increased and new patent fees could affect prosecution strategies for law firms and companies, according to sources
Five former Oblon lawyers felt that joining Merchant & Gould would help them offer the right prices to entice clients
The UK may not be a UPC member but its firms are still acting in proceedings, with Carpmaels among the most prominent
Naomi Pearce of Pearce IP shares how she is helping her firm become a life sciences leader and how generous policies have helped attract top talent
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal filed by Ocado, in what was a key test for transparency at the new court
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer or professional about their life and career
INTA is calling out ‘immoral’ unregistered attendees at the association’s annual meeting, but the debate is more nuanced
Gift this article