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The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) is a European Community body with its own legal personality. Its task is to promote and manage trademarks and design rights within the European Union. The Community courts - the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice of the European Communities - are responsible for overseeing the legality of OHIM's decisions.

Meeting Forums

Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) participates at both Administrative Board meetings, Budget Committee meetings,  liaison meetings, Cooperation Fund and Convergence programme between OHIM and the national trade mark and design offices.

1. Administrative Board and Budget Committee meetings

The participants are composed of a representative from the Commission. Ms. Anne Rejnhold Jørgensen, director Policy & Legal Affairs at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office is chairperson on the Budget Committee. The meetings are held every six months. In addition, the two boards have so-called joint meetings.

2. Liaison meetings between OHIM and the national offices

At these meetings both legal and technical aspects of the Community trade mark system and the Community design system are examined in depth. The meetings are based on active participation by the member states. We aim to play an active part in the meetings as well as in deciding the agenda.

3. Cooperation Fund

The Cooperation Fund aims to promote further harmonization, to modernize EU IP offices, and facilitate working methods for users of the European trade mark and design systems.

The Fund encompasses eighteen projects. Sixteen are development of new tools, and the remaining two – TMview and TMclass – were running ahead of the Fund´s inception. They were subsequently incorporated into the current suite of tools.
The Fund is underpinned by an allocation of €50 million, provided by OHIM. We are participating in a substantial part of the working groups under the Fund and are planning to implement most of the projects

4. Convergence Programmes

The Convergence Programme was launched between OHIM, national IP offices and user organizations to reach common ground on a series of issues where IP offices in the EU have different practices. The Convergence Programme complements the work on common IT tools taking place under the Cooperation Fund and the review of trade mark laws and procedures in Europe.

Focus is given to issues such as harmonization of classification of goods and services; interpretations of the scope of class headings in trade marks; absolute grounds for refusal for figurative trade marks; the scope of protection with regard to other colours of black and white marks; relative grounds for refusal on the basis of likelihood of confusion when dealing with non-distinctive or weak components of trade marks. We are participating in all the working groups.

The current issues

• Revision of the Trademark Directive and Regulation

A revision of the COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 207/2009 of 26 February 2009 on the Community trade mark and DIRECTIVE 2008/95/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 22 October 2008 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks has been under way for a couple of years. First step was the Study of the Overall Functioning of the European Trade Mark System presented by the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law. The Commission published the proposals for revision of both the Trademark Directive and Regulation on the 27 of March 2013

• A comprehensive study on the overall functioning of the Community trademark system

Generally, Denmark believes that a thorough analysis of the functioning of the European trademark system should be given high priority and welcomes the study carried out by the Max Planck Institute. In our view the purpose  is to establish a common ground for making the right decisions as to how we can enhance the European industries' global competitiveness within marketing and branding. We see the surplus within the European trademark system as an opportunity to deal with this important issue. As part of setting the future European framework, we find it important to enhance the relationship between the OHIM and the national offices in order to sustain the complementarity between the options for trademark protection.