The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ (IPOPHL) online trademark filing tool is now using the European Union’s (EU) harmonized database of goods and services (HDB), currently the largest multilingual trademark classification database in the world.
The HDB contains over 78,000 terms which users can choose from when indicating the nature of the goods and services for which the mark is sought. All terms in the HDB are automatically accepted by IPOPHL and all trademark offices in the EU.
Specifying or describing the goods and services associated with a trademark is a critical step in application. This will set the limits of the trademark protection sought for and help IP offices determine whether a mark is confusingly similar to another, a conflict which is a ground for rejection.
The database also integrates the most updated version of the Nice classification — the international trademark classification system, making IPOPHL’s system more harmonized with global trademark filing standards.
“Adopting the EU’s HDB ensures a smooth and more successful trademark application for local businesses filing at intellectual property (IP) offices across the EU and foreign applicants filing at IPOPHL,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said.
He explained: “This will eliminate the risk of being objected to or the application getting delayed over classification or description errors, in which case, would mean paying for a new application and waiting longer for a decision.”
He added that with more options of terms given to filers, businesses have a fuller list of categories to look into when doing their due diligence search.
“This will allow them to find product or service marks they may run in conflict with and in this way assess their chances for approval before proceeding with an application.”
Those with registered marks can also benefit from this database expansion as this helps them monitor whether their marks are being infringed on and anticipate risks of future cancellation, the IPOPHL chief said.
“For EU businesses, this greater harmonization between IPOPHL and EU-based IP offices can bring ease in trademark protection, possibly motivating them to set up more shops in or introduce more brands to the Philippines through export.”
IPOPHL is the 17th IP office outside the EU and 85th out of all national and regional IP offices in the world to use the HDB.
An accomplishment of IPOPHL’s Bureau of Trademarks and Management Information Service, the database integration is part of the deliverables of IPOPHL and the EU IP Office under the ARISE Plus IP Rights (ARISE+IPR) program.
ARISE+IPR is a five-year €5.5 million program funded by the EU to support the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan 2016-2025 which aims to improve IP creation, protection, utilization, administration and enforcement across ASEAN member states.