European Union Intellectual Property Office

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European Union Intellectual Property Office (until March 2016: Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market)
Agency overview
Formed 15 March 1994 (1994-03-15)
Jurisdiction European Union
Headquarters Alicante, Spain
Agency executive
Key document

The European Union Intellectual Property Office, or EUIPO is the trade mark and designs registry for the internal market of the European Union. It is based in Alicante, Spain, and its Executive Director (previously styled President) is António Campinos. Until 23 March 2016 it was named Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs), or OHIM (Spanish: OAMI).


The task of EUIPO is to promote and manage EU Trade Marks (until 2016 named Community Trade Marks) and Registered Community Designs within the European Union. It carries out registration procedures for titles to EU industrial property and keeps public registers of these titles. It shares with the courts in Member States of the European Union the task of pronouncing judgment on requests for invalidation of registered titles.

The Office is a public establishment which enjoys legal, administrative and financial independence. The Office was created under European Union law and is an EU agency with its own legal personality. Its activities are subject to EU law. The Court of Justice of the European Union is responsible for overseeing the legality of the Office's decisions. The Office is responsible for balancing its budget from its own revenue, which is derived mainly from registration fees and fees for the renewal of trade mark protection.

Operations and developments[edit]

In a report released in March 2008, OHIM announced that due to the strong demand for EU-wide trade marks, the agency had accumulated a budget surplus of nearly €300 million, despite the fact that fees had been reduced by 25%, to around €1,600 in 2005. The agency's head, Wubbo de Boer, publicly advocated further reducing fees,[1] and from 1 May 2009, the official fee for seeking registration of an EU Trade Mark fell by a further 40% to €900 for an online application.[2]

OHIM also used €50 million from the surplus to establish a co-operation fund between its operations and those of the national offices in each member state of the European Union. A great deal of controversy surrounds the fund and exactly how it should be spent: some commentators[who?] suggest that it should be used to commercialise the national offices by improving their technical systems. In an interview with World Trademark Review,[3] António Campinos, president of the Portuguese IP office, who has been appointed to succeed de Boer as OHIM President from 1 October 2010, said: "It's curious to note that the less sophisticated offices are those that have no financial autonomy."

European judges' symposia[edit]

Every two years EUIPO organises a European Judges’ Symposium on trade mark and design issues. These Symposia aim to promote harmonisation in the application of the EU trade mark and Community design regulations at all jurisdictional levels and, in particular, at the level of EU trade mark and design courts. These are national courts of the EU Member States which have jurisdiction in disputes concerning the infringement and the validity of EU trade marks and Community designs.

The first Symposium was held in Luxembourg in 1999; since 2001 it has been held in Alicante. Judges from both Member States and candidate countries attend these Symposia along with representatives from the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance. Working sessions have focused on absolute and relative grounds for refusing registration of an EU trade mark, proceedings brought before the EU trade mark courts and the impact of EU enlargement on the EU trade mark system.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Economist. A money mountain. 8–14 March 2008. p. 73
  2. ^ OHIM website. Community trade marks get even more affordable. 30 April 2009.
  3. ^ Sealing the deal

External links[edit]