- Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market Seat Alicante, Spain Established 1994 Website oami.europa.eu
The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs), or OHIM (Spanish: OAMI or Oficina de Armonizacion del Mercado Interior, German: HABM Harmonisierungsamt für den Binnenmarkt, French: OHMI or Office de l'Harmonisation dans le Marché Intérieur, Italian: UAMI or Ufficio per l'Armonizzazione nel Mercato Interno) is the trademark and designs registry for the internal market of the European Union. It is based in Alicante, Spain, and its president is António Campinos.
The task of OHIM is to promote and manage Community Trade Marks and Community Designs within the European Union. It carries out registration procedures for titles to EU industrial property and keeps public registers of these titles. It shares with the courts in Member States of the European Union the task of pronouncing judgment on requests for invalidation of registered titles.
The Office is a public establishment which enjoys legal, administrative and financial independence. The Office was created under European Union law and is an EU agency with its own legal personality. Its activities are subject to EU law. The Court of Justice of the European Union is responsible for overseeing the legality of the Office's decisions. The Office is responsible for balancing its budget from its own revenue, which is derived mainly from registration fees and fees for the renewal of trade mark protection.
Operations and developments
In a report released in March 2008, OHIM announced that due to the strong demand for EU-wide trademarks, the agency had accumulated a budget surplus of nearly €300 million, despite the fact that fees had been reduced by 25%, to around €1,600 in 2005. The agency's head, Wubbo de Boer, publicly advocated further reducing fees, and from 1 May 2009, the cost of having a Community Trade Mark fell by a further 40% to €900 for an online application.
OHIM also used €50 million from the surplus to establish a cooperation fund between its operations and those of the national offices in each member state of the European Union. A great deal of controversy surrounds the fund and exactly how it should be spent: some commentators[who?] suggest that it should be used to commercialize the national offices by improving their technical systems. In an interview with World Trademark Review, António Campinos, president of the Portuguese IP office, who has been appointed to succeed de Boer as OHIM President from 1 October 2010, said: "It's curious to note that the less sophisticated offices are those that have no financial autonomy."
European judges' symposia
Every two years the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) organises a European Judges’ Symposium on trade mark and design issues. These Symposia aim to promote harmonisation in the application of the Community trade mark and Community design regulations at all jurisdictional levels and, in particular, at the level of Community trade mark and design courts. These are national courts of the EU Member States which have jurisdiction in disputes concerning the infringement and the validity of Community trade marks and Community designs.
The first Symposium was held in Luxembourg in 1999; since 2001 it has been held in Alicante. Judges from both Member States and candidate countries attend these Symposia along with representatives from the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance. Working sessions have focused on absolute and relative grounds for refusing registration of a Community trade mark, proceedings brought before the Community trade mark courts and the impact of EU enlargement on the Community trade mark system.
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- European trademark attorney
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