EUIPO has published news about payment of fees/charges, procedural misrepresentation and abuse of User Area credentials, which will be of particular interest to European trade mark and design practitioners.
Decision on payment of fees and charges
A new Decision of the Executive Director (No EX-21-5) was signed on 21 July, replacing previous decision No EX-17-7.
This new decision expressly allows those defined as “authorised persons” in renewal proceedings (pursuant to Article 53(1) EUTMR and Article 13(1) CDR respectively) to hold a current account with the Office.
Article 3(d) of the new Decision provides that authorised persons may now hold a current account with the Office so they can process and pay their renewals for both EUTMs and RCDs.
EUIPO says the change has been implemented to enhance the efficiency of the renewal payments process and to remove any discrimination in the payment methods made available to authorised persons compared to other types of user.
Article 20 of the EUTMR and Article 78 of the CDR lay down the requirements regarding who can be a legal practitioner or professional representative before the EUIPO. To prevent abuse, EUIPO requires professional representatives to provide evidence of having a real and effective business of employment in the EEA.
The Office checks, in particular (1) when an existing representative requests a second or subsequent ID number; (2) where there is a reasonable doubt regarding possible misrepresentation; and (3) when a third party questions the veracity of the representative’s place of business or employment. Third-party requests must be substantiated and the party concerned will always have the opportunity to be heard before the EUIPO.
If the representative fails to submit appropriate evidence of sufficient information, the EUIPO will delete them from the list of professional representatives or the database of legal practitioners.
Abuse of User Area credentials
EUIPO says it is aware that some representatives have been leasing their unique User Area credentials to independent third parties. It says: “These third parties do not operate under the direct control, responsibility or supervision of the authorised representative, as defined in Decision EX‑20‑9, Article 3(1). They merely act under their identity. By disclosing their User Area credentials, the representatives grant access to all the files and information stored in their User Area to these third parties. This means they may obtain unauthorised access to confidential files and information relating to other represented persons, resulting in a breach of data protection rules.”
In response, it has updated the Conditions of use of the User Area to reflect the actions it will take in the event of a potential prohibited disclosure (see paragraph 4).
The changes clarify that the account holder is responsible for the proper use of the account and maintenance of confidentiality, define “prohibited disclosure” of credentials, identify the steps the EUIPO will take on being made aware of a potential case of prohibited disclosure; and outline the possible consequences and sanctions.
A disclaimer has been added stating that the EUIPO is not liable for any data breaches caused by an account holder’s prohibited disclosure of its User Area credentials.
For more information see the latest issue of Alicante News or contact KCRegisterfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture of EUIPO in Alicante taken from EUIPO website