Managing Partner / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney
Electronic interaction with Rospatent: new opportunities
It so happened that technical innovations at our place are not implemented so quickly and painlessly, asevery interested party would like. Thus, patent offices abroad have already been interacting withapplicants for a very long time using the World Wide Web.Upon the expiration of the first decade of the new century, the domestic FIIP (the Federal Institute ofIndustrial Property – the body. which carries out the state registration of intellectual property subject-matters), which have admitted only a fax machine as a customer focus electronic means until nowadays,followed by a “paper” confirmation, started to implement, slowly but surely, the long-pending aspects inthe social and economic fields.In 2010, the system of electronic filing of applications for the registration of trademarks and carryingout the correspondence related to it with an authorized body started to work. The interaction with theapplicant through the Network is carried out from the moment of filing the application and up to thesettlement of the substantive issue (a decision on the registration, a decision on the refusal of theregistration, or a decision on the withdrawal of the application).As in any aspect of the human activity, in the system described there are clear advantages anddisadvantages, which can rather be called the developers’ shortcomings.Let us touch them briefly. I would like to start with the advantages, as they are greater in number andthey are much more significant.So, in our opinion, the discount on the state fees in the amount of a significant 30 percent is the mostimportant advantage among them, what is a pleasant surprise in the context of the recent years financialpolicy of the state bodies with respect to the business community. There are reasonable grounds to believethat in this way the registering body stimulates the most rapid electronization of the relations: an applicant– the FIIP. Undoubtedly, a positive product of the electronic interaction with the FIIP is the timereduction, the so called formal examination of the application, what, taking into account the significantterms allowed by the legislator for the overall process, has, if not decisive, but a significant importance inchoosing a method for filing the documents.Electronization, in turn, has opened up much convenience for the companies involved in the trademarkregistration. This may include, for example, the possibility of the day and night filing the documents tothe FIIP during 7 days a week and a super-fast receipt of the correspondence, in comparison with a“conventional” method, what, undoubtedly, helps to observe the period for the filing the documents andfilling in the applications more accurately.Who among the office employees has not complained about a large amount of documentation storedon his workplace, and who has not suffered from confusing and loosing it. With an electronic documentflow, these “joys” are the things of the past. This is actual at least for the registration of trademarks. Alldocuments are now stored in a digital format, in one place. The previous convenience has resulted in sucha small, but nevertheless a joyful thing – saving paper, what in economic stagnation conditions, is perhapsa greater piece of luck for the patent bureaus, than a 30 percent discount on the state fee for their clients.The conveniences have not bypassed the FIIP’s employees. When considering an application, forexample, the examiner does not need to check, whether the applicant has used the ICGS current edition,when filling in the application, or he has confined himself to the old one by a mistake. The programmeuses only current regulatory documents. Naturally, in a positive aspect such convenience also refers to theemployees of the patent firms.Turning to the disadvantages or, as we have called them above, the developer’s shortcomings, which,as must be admitted, are smoothed over in course of time, we can recall such a strange feature of theprogramme, as a request for filling in the field for a Tax Registration Reason Code (KPP), in the cases,when the applicant is an individual entrepreneur, who does not have such a code. Of course, it is notdifficult to add zeros required by the programme, but, in general, this indicates a “raw” software product.Unfortunately, there are also frequent cases of difficulties with logging in the resource after thecomputer’s self-updating, what is already a more serious disadvantage, which, along with the failures onthe FIIP’s server, can cause the delay in filing the documents with all the consequences. The latter ones(failures), much to everyone's delight, are rare and short.Another “curable” but an unpleasant trouble of the FIIP’s software product may include the restrictionson the formats and volumes of the package of the documents being filed.This should also include the programme’s failure to detect the name (heading) of the ICGS class, if itis necessary to insert it into the application. In case of such a need, in contravention of the common sense,the entire class list should be placed in the application. The lack of automatic filling in and the ability ofcopying the applications, does not contribute to a convenient work, that is, each of the applications should
be filled in separately, what certainly creates unnecessary difficulties in the work and has an indirectnegative impact on the quality of the services.The necessity for obtaining an enhanced electronic digital signature (EDS) doesn’t seem to besomewhat a frightening thing against the background of the above said and, for example, the offset by theprogramme of the paid, but not confirmed state fee is absolutely comical.Summing up, it should be noted that it is rather difficult to classify the above said advantages anddisadvantages in terms of their relevance and a degree of the advantageousness or inconvenience withrespect to the registering body, customers or patent bureaus exclusively. Since the registration of atrademark is a multi-component process with a complex structure of the participants and a need for theirclear interaction, both advantages and disadvantages are common and interrelated.In general, currently it is possible to see a tendency to the improvement of the quality of the electronicinteraction with Rospatent, which, we are sure, will only gather speed.