Tuesday, 31 March 2009

CTM fees

Although there are precedents, in the UK Patent Office for example, it is still pretty unusual for an intellectual property office to reduce its fees. Well, actually, it's unusual to find the price of anything coming down, although thanks to the mess the banks have created for us all we might get to see it happening more often.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that OHIM is cutting the fees for a Community trade mark: abolishing the pain-in-the-neck registration fee completely, so the total cost will come down, but raising the application fee to €900 online (€1050 on paper). The change will come into effect the day after publication of a new regulation in the Official Journal, sometime in May.

In the meantime, it looks as if it might be a particularly good time to file your applications. The OHIM site tells us:

"Under the transitional arrangements agreed, applications currently in the pipeline, for which OHIM has not issued the request for payment of the registration fee by the date on which the new fee schedule comes into effect, will not have to pay the current registration fee. For these customers, the application fee (e.g. €750 for an online application for up to three classes) will be the only amount paid."

I could want it to be a bit clearer. I think it is referring to those applications that are in the pipeline on the magic date in May with no request for payment having been issued. It could, I think, be read as meaning that if you've already filed before this statement was issued and haven't had a fee request, you'll get the knock-down rate, and after the magic date you'll pay the new rate, leaving doubt about what happens to applications filed between the publication of the statement and the new fees coming into effect. It surely can't mean that, can it?

So, anyone (like a client I could name, but of course won't. who I advised to hang fire on a trade mark application pending the reduction) thinking of filing for a CTM should go ahead and do so now while this time-limited special offer is running!

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