Quality Manager – INPI Portugal
The idea behind the creation in 2010 of TMview, the online trademark consultation tool currently managed by EUIPO -formerly known as the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM)-, was the incorporation of the trademarks from around the EU network into its database, allowing easy and effective search among the participating EU national offices and EUIPO.
TMview was launched with trademarks from Benelux, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, the OHIM and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)- around 4 million trademarks in total, being Greece the last European country to join in 2013.
As regards Latin America, the Mexican integration in 2013 became TMview’s first steps into the region. Since then, five more LA countries have joined this platform: Brazil (February 2016), Colombia (June 2017), Peru (October 2017), Argentina (November 2017) and Chile (April 2018). The entry of these six countries of Latin America, enriched this database with more than 9.3 million trademarks, and currently, they represent over 20% of its content.
TMview provides access to more than 47, 5 million trademarks from 65 participating offices, providing valuable first-hand information about both trademarks applications and registrations in different economies and regions.
European SMEs seeking to internationalize their business will find below some key benefits of using the platform that may increase legal certainty and help to better plan their strategy on IPR protection:
- Accurate and reliable information is provided at any time (online) since the respective/corresponding national Office updates it daily.
- The service is free of charge and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Data is available in more than 35 languages, including all the official EU languages.
- Materials are ready for printing and/or downloading, so that users could bring them to legal administrative procedures and court proceedings in case of conflict or infringement, as well as before customs authorities.
- Easy-to-use and all-in-one tools: directly linked to the EUIPO and national databases through a unique platform, providing first-hand information from the official registers.
- Provides online knowledge database with articles, tutorials, and support for users.
- Enables an easy and efficient search through all TMs: national, regional, and international.
- Enables companies to know what products and services its competitors on the market are protecting.
- Allows users to know the availability of their ideas for a trademark name.
- Due to its constant updating, users can check both the updates on trademarks legal status and the deadlines for opposition proceedings.
As Miguel Angel Margáin, Director General of the Mexican Intellectual Property Office expressed in June 2013, “Users can search for trademarks which are being examined or look at trademarks that are registered at international level which helps them to analyse and monitor applications in IP offices which form part of TMview” (in European TDMN News 02/2014).
It is also important to mention the existence of the DesignView database, which collects the same type of information as the TMview but related to registered designs. It is worth pointing out that unlike Europe, the majority of Latin-American countries’ design laws provides no protection for unregistered designs. Only three countries in that region provide such protection: Panama (2 years), Nicaragua and Guatemala (3 years) in a similar way to the European Union. Therefore, European SMEs interested in operating in Latin America should not rely on unregistered protection of their designs in this region.
In conclusion, EU companies that are considering to internationalize their businesses should not forget that, to properly manage and develop their IP portfolio, they have at their disposal a variety of means devoted to reduce the risks and doubts that may arise when entering new markets. It is advisable in any case to carefully plan and seek IP expert assistance to ensure a strong protection of the intangible assets.