Intellectual Property Office

3 April 2017 Revised 4 April 2017

An intellectual property office is a national, regional or, in a few cases, territorial body responsible for registering patents, trade marks, designs and other intellectual property rights ("IPR") for a designated area.

In carrying out those tasks, most intellectual property offices perform executive and judicial functions. Executive functions include considering application for the registration of patents, trade marks and other IPR. These are typically performed by officials known as "examiners". Judicial functions include determining disputes between applicants for, or owners of, IPR and examiners and between such owners and applicants and persons challenging their claims to IPR. In some intellectual property offices such disputes are heard and determined by an official known as a "hearings officer".  In others, there are "boards of appeals" consisting of panels of technically and legally qualified officials.

The intellectual property office for the United Kingdom is the Intellectual Property Office (“the IPO”) in Newport which is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The IPO examines applications for patents and trade marks and registers designs for the United Kingdom and certain dependent territories

The intellectual property office for the European Union is the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIIPO”) in Alicante. The EUIPO examines applications for an registers European Union trade marks (“EUTM”) and registered Community designs (“RCD”).

There is as yet no such thing as a European Union patent though there may soon be a European patent having unitary effect (“unitary patent”) for the territories of some but not all European Union member states including the UK for the time being. There is, however, a European Patent Office (“EPO”) in Munich with offices in certain other cities that grants European patents. European patents are granted for the territories of the parties to the European patent convention (“EPC”) which include the United Kingdom. European patents granted for the UK (“European patents (UK)”) are treated for all practical purposes as though they were granted by the IPO.

Other important intllectual property offices are the:

The World Intellectual Property Organization maintains an up to date directory of the world's intellectual property offices on its website.


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