Raising awareness of IP rights among businesses, building expertise by jointly training the staff of IP offices and promoting services by using the most up-to-date technical infrastructure are the core activities outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which has been signed by Benoît Battistelli and Antonio Campinos, President of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante. The cooperation between both institutions follows the example of the European Patent Network (EPN) and aims to increase the efficiency of the IP system within the EU and globally.
The two offices have previously cooperated on a number of international projects in China, Asia and the Balkans. Benoît Battistelli expressed the need to consider the complementary character of industrial property rights: "An innovative product will not only involve novel technology, but will distinguish itself from other competing products by its "look and feel" and a catchy brand name. Successful marketing strategies frequently build on the efficient use of strong trade marks and design rights." It was therefore necessary to close knowledge gaps using the expertise of the EPO, OHIM and the national IP offices at their respective levels.
OHIM President Antonio Campinos said the agreement would have a profound influence on how they worked with national offices and projected the influence of the EU on intellectual property in the international arena.
The agreement, made in the presence of representatives of EU member states and IP user organisations attending the May meeting of OHIM's Administrative Board, also allows scope for other forms of cooperation in the future which fall within the overall objectives of the Memorandum.