Electronic filing of applications for the registration of a trademark
Keywords: intellectual property, means of individualization, exclusive rights, trademark, registration of a trademark, application for a trademark, examination as to form of an application for a trademark, electronic interaction with applicants, electronic filing of an application for a trademark, electronic signature.
The trademark is, in accordance with the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, “a designation used for the individualization of products of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs”. As trademarks it is possible to register words and phrases, pictures, logos, the form of packaging, even colors and melodies – all that helps to distinguish the products and services of some manufacturers from the products and services of the other manufacturers, to increase their recognizability among consumers, to fight against the unfair competition.
The trademark belongs to the category of intellectual property subject-matters, the rights to which can arise only after the registration by the Federal Executive Authority on Intellectual Property – Rospatent. Accordingly, to ensure the legal protection to your trademark, you should register it by filing an application to the Patent Office.
The application for the registration of a trademark can be filed both in a paper form and in an electronic form. Filing electronic applications is carried out through the services of the FIPS website: http://www1.fips.ru/wps/wcm/connect/content_ru/ru/el_zayav/tm_ap_new. It should be noted, that every day the quantity of applications filed “remotely” becomes more and more (several tens of thousands have been filed by now), and Rospatent is increasingly engaged in electronic interaction with applicants.
Just on the FIPS website the advantages of such electronic documents circulation are indicated: the registration of applications and any additional documents are carried out day and night, including on weekends and holidays; the official fee for filing an electronic application is reduced by 15% (by 405 roubles less than the official fee for filing an application in a paper form); the documents from the “Personal Account” of the user on the website are “delivered” to the Patent Office just in a few seconds.
The process of registering a trademark is almost completely “free” from the paper correspondence (except for a trademark certificate itself), and, in general, as the delivery time of the correspondence is reduced by many times, the process is significantly accelerated.
In particular, the process of carrying out an examination as to form can be completed almost twice as fast as than the one at filing a “paper” application: the computer service checks automatically the availability of the necessary information in the relevant fields (otherwise the application simply will not be able “to be sent” to the Patent Office), therefore the information on the applicant and the payer, the description of the designation applied, the designation itself, the list of products and services, etc. are loaded automatically into the electronic document circulation system and do not require any additional manual processing.
Through the appropriate server on the website, it is possible, first of all, to file an application for the registration of a trademark signed with a qualified electronic signature, to receive almost immediately a notification from Rospatent on the receipt of the application with the registration number assigned to it and to correspond further with Rospatent in an electronic form. In the same way, through the above website, it is possible to file an application for an invention or a utility model.
The very use of the server is free.
The authorization of the users of the “Personal Account” on the FIPS website occurs by means of an electronic signature certificate. In general, the electronic signature is intended to identify the person who has signed an electronic document, and it is an analogue of a “handwritten” signature. The possibilities of using an electronic signature are determined by the provisions of Article 6 of Federal Law of April 6, 2011 No. 63-FZ “On Electronic Signature”, which establish conditions for the recognition of electronic documents signed by an electronic signature as equivalent to paper documents signed by a handwritten signature. To obtain an electronic signature it is necessary to contact the Certifying Center of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.
The electronic signature provides a full control over the integrity of the transmitted electronic document. The digital signature corresponds only to a certain “state” of the document and it is considered to be invalid as soon as the document is changed – accidentally or intentionally. It is, accordingly, provides an effective protection against counterfeiting. Just in the same way as it is impossible to “erase” the signature with a pen on paper without a trace, it is impossible to “delete” an electronic signature, to refuse from the “authorship” of the document.
The use of an electronic signature also requires special software (“CryptoPro CSP”, version 3.6, 3.9).
On the website of the Patent Office it is impossible to find the instructions on installing and configuring the system for filing electronic applications, there is also a list of minimum requirements for the system there. So, to work with the Service for Electronic Filing of Applications, it is necessary to install a crypto provider (it is an independent module that allows cryptographic operations in Microsoft operating systems) on the user's computer, to install a personal certificate and its chain of certificates, as well as a chain of certificates of the FIPS Management Centre; to have a browser version meeting the requirements of the Service; and, finally, to have a firewall or antivirus program (if installed) ensuring full access to the server. Also, there are more specific requirements to the computer hardware itself: the screen resolution must be at least 1024x768 pixels, the operating system must be: MS Windows XP SP3, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, browser – Internet Explorer, version 8, Internet Explorer, versions 9-11. Naturally, the access to the web-server is provided when connecting to the Internet.
Also, on this website it is possible to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions http://www1.fips.ru/wps/wcm/connect/content_ru/ru/el_zayav/faq_el (for example: What are the requirements to the files of “nonstandard” trademarks attached to the application form? How should the information about the payer be filled in? When is it necessary to indicate the information in fields “E-mail” and “Send the correspondence to E-mail”? and many others). If there are no answers to your question on the website, you can always contact a user technical support group by writing e-mail to email@example.com.
Comprehensive User's Guide to the “System for Electronic Filing of Applications for the Registration of a Trademark and a Service Mark” will help to solve many difficult issues and frequently encountered problems.
The electronic signature certificate allows users to log in and authorize themselves on the FIPS website, with absolute safety of such access and with safety of all transmitted and received documents. The “owner" of the Personal Account can be one person – the owner of an electronic digital signature certificate. The application for the registration of a trademark and all other documents sent from the Personal Account will be signed by the signature of that particular person.
The main window of the electronic document circulation application includes several main fields: “News” – for viewing news and information messages; “Library of Applications,” involving the mode of formalizing and filing the applications for the registration of trademarks; “Library of Documents” for working with methodological and normative and reference materials, etc.
“The Library of Applications,” perhaps, is the main section of the Personal Account. It displays the applications in the form of a list, in which it is possible to find the following brief information for each application: “Status” (the current state of the workflow), “Creation Date,” “Registration Application Number” (assigned automatically to the application by Rospatent), “Incoming Application Number” (also assigned automatically by Rospatent), Tracking Application Number” (assigned by the user), “Registration Date” (the date of the registration of the application in the FIPS Moscow time). Each of these fields can be quickly searched and sorted.
The obligatory document for any of the applications in the “Library” is a user-created “Application” for the registration of a trademark. When creating an application, the so-called “Navigation Bar” appears at the top of the page, which contains separate fields that must be filled in and that correspond to the structure of the “paper” application. The user gradually fills in the information about the applicant, the payer, the representative, the designation applied, the priority, the products and services, the additional materials. The fields that should be filled in obligatory are highlighted in red. If some of them are not filled in, it will be impossible to sign the application and send it to the Patent Office.
As we can see, the Rospatent service for electronic filing of applications is really convenient. Beside obvious advantages – the ability to file applications “remotely,” the speed and the day and night work – the service has a number of other useful options, such as, for example, the ability of an operative control over the workflow for each application at different steps of its examination, an access to the classifier of the International Classification of Goods and Services, etc. Of course, in order to get an access to electronic filing of applications, one should spend time and money to ensure the possibility of signing the documents with an electronic digital signature and solve a number of problems related to the access and security issues, but in the long-run period these costs of time and money are undoubtedly paid off. Although, of course, the possibility of electronic filing of applications will be most interesting to patent attorneys and companies specializing in providing services in the field of registering the rights to intellectual property subject-matters, which have a large volume of filed applications for trademarks on a monthly basis.