In July of 2015, I was hit hard by the Internet Revolution. In December, I finally dropped Microsoft after fighting (and losing to) Windows 10. My third world Internet connection couldn't handle the incessant, unauthorized and deceptive behind the scenes bandwidth usage. 6 months and over $1000 later, I switched to Linux Ubuntu which has given me 6 trouble free months of reliable, inexpensive Internet. That was my most painful change to date, but I continue to experience changes daily, all around the world.
The “Internet of Trademarks” is changing too. The trademark industry worldwide is keeping up with technology and keeping trademark professionals on their toes as they roll out one change after another to their on-line systems to keep pace with worldwide trademark trends and system upgrades.
For the last several years, most of the more technologically advanced countries around the world have been updating / upgrading their trademark systems. Sometimes, there are changes from morning to night on the trademark search or filing page; week to week is very common.
I highly recommend the new “worldwide trademark search” in which over 40 countries' trademark offices currently participate. TMVIEW – https://www.tmdn.org/tmview/welcome. I find it a bit fickle at times, but it is a valuable tool which will become more stable as it matures.
Some of the vast changes seen in the last 6-24 months to on-line trademark systems are:
Canada – CIPO
- A gradual change to incorporate the NICE class code system, not yet in full use,but coming along very nicely.
- A customer number is now required.
USA – USPTO
- The ability to search both pending and registered trademarks from the same search screen.
- Renewal reminders now sent via e-mail, and all documents are available on-line in a very timely manner.
EU – EUIPO
- The EU is 28 countries and took the name EUIPO March 23 (dropping the name OHIM), changing its pricing structure at the same time.
- Available in multiple languages. Opposition documents on-line.
- The information is updated in a timely manner.
China – SIPO
- On-line search & status capability in both English & Chinese.
- The information is updated in a timely manner, and it has a nice translation feature to English.
Of course, progress does not come without a sacrifice. The sacrifice nowadays in most cases is in timeliness & reliability in being able to access the websites. Either the trademark website is not working reliably yet (SIPO), or it's undergoing regular changes behind the scenes that is causing unanticipated outages on the site, day or night (such as EUIPO, USTO, and the TMVIEW).
To pay for these these technological updates, in some cases, there have been increases to the trademark filing fees, some of which are enormous. UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela have increased their prices by 200%+.
The USPTO, however, was able to reduce the trademark filing fees several times over the last few years, as the technological improvements to the trademark filing system reduced the cost of processing the application, even as filing volume continues to increase yearly.
EUIPO changed its price structure along with its name, effective March.
Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Mexico, and many many others have changed their trademark fees.
And of course, WIPO has been evolving for many years and is used by many. It is not, however, always the easiest nor least expensive way to approach international trademark filing, however.
The trademark process worldwide is an evolving entity. If you have not checked out the price and process lately...you should do so now. Due to technology and recent upgrades to the “Internet of Trademarks”, it's easier, quicker and more affordable than you might expect.