A new OHIM website was recently released to some fanfare. According to the Alicante Newsletter: “The site has been developed in collaboration with users, who have tested its functionalities and provided valuable feedback through the development process”.
Unfortunately however it seems as though the online filing functionality was one area where the site testing may have been a little lacking. There have been some reports appearing online about technical issues (here and the 11 December entry here) and the OHIM website itself has carried a number of announcements regarding this matter. However, based on some recent experiences that we have been made aware of IPcopy wonders if the new OHIM site is currently fit for purpose?
One of the fundamental purposes of an intellectual property office would seem to be the receipt and processing of IP filings. However, recent efforts to submit Community Design Applications via the new interface have been less than totally successful.
A notable benefit of an online filing system is the almost instant provision of a filing receipt. Failure to provide such a receipt would give rise to a number of questions: has the case been received?; should another application be filed?; what should you do if you have a convention filing deadline?
All these questions were recently brought to the fore when a Community Design case failed to return a filing receipt. A call was duly put in to OHIM to try and ascertain the status of the case and to obtain some measure of reassurance for the client.
Unfortunately it would seem the filing difficulties were not localised to the case in question. The technical support team and later the complaints department were unable to provide a status update due to the large number of other applications that were in the same boat. These cases were being worked through on a case-by-case basis and it was estimated that it would take 2-3 days before the status of the case in question could be confirmed!
The complaints department then suggested that if there was any concern whether the case in question had been received then a further filing should be made! When it was explained that it was important to determine if the filing had been made on a particular day and that a subsequent filing on a later day should not be required the complaints team implied that a subsequent filing might be more successful than the initial one in obtaining a filing receipt. Essentially, try again, you might have more luck!
The current status of the OHIM website appears less than ideal and OHIM don’t appear to be offering any real assistance to users of the online filing facility. The previous system operated without difficulty and we can only conclude that the new site was not adequately tested prior to launch.
The issues with the OHIM website do not appear to be confined to the design side of the system either.
So come on OHIM, give us the Christmas present we want and get the site up and running. Or roll it back to the old version. Or do some detailed stress testing. Or something…..
IPcopy would be keen to hear of your experiences.
Mark Richardson 18 December 2013
“OHIM helpdesk image” is by Menage a Moi on Flickr (source file). “Call centre” image by Kingfox (source file). Images supplied under a creative commons licence.