A year on from the publication of the first ever Common Practice on designs, the second European design convergence initiative reaches completion. The tool offers users and IP Offices a harmonised database of approximately 15,000 product indications, including the Locarno 11th Edition Classification terms.
It is the result of collaboration between 24 participating EU Offices, 4 non-EU IP Offices, 2 User Associations, WIPO and EUIPO, who worked to pre-approve the harmonised product indications in 23 EU languages.
Prior to the development of DesignClass no common classification tool for designs existed in the EU. The CP7 project was therefore launched to converge practices in this area, by standardising the use of product indications within the EU and beyond.
To meet its objectives, the project was rolled out in two phases. Phase I, which went live in November 2015, delivered the Common Practice, the harmonised database of product indications and the first release of DesignClass.
With this launch, Phase II of DesignClass builds on the earlier achievements to include
- The extended product indications classification (EPIC) – taxonomisation of the harmonised database of product indications, which divides Locarno sub-classes into groups and sub-groups to improve the intuitiveness of searches
- The association of images to product indications – enabling users to visualise the product indications and hence select the most appropriate to their needs
- The pairing of non-accepted with accepted product indications – ensuring that users are directed to the harmonised product indications that correspond to their design
- Validated translations of all product indications, variants and duplicates – translations have been thoroughly revised by IP Offices, EUIPO and external translation companies to minimise risk of disconformity in any EU language
- A Harmonised Workflow tool – an administrative module which allows all users of the application to propose updates to the harmonised database of product indications through a two-month long voting cycle
All the features of the tool combine to provide the most extensive, free, online resource of pre-accepted product indications and translations available to users and IP Offices. Not only do these features make the tool intuitive and easy to use but they ensure that it returns accurate and relevant search results.
DesignClass: developing for the future
As participating Offices (and users via EUIPO or via the relevant national or regional Intellectual Property Office) use the Harmonised Workflow to submit terms for inclusion in the database, propose the deletion of obsolete product indications, suggest alternative translations and add images to existing product indications, DesignClass will become more streamlined and attuned to users’ needs. The products for which a design can be registered will be better mapped, meaning greater accuracy and legal certainty for designers.
The harmonisation of product indications and the definition of exact equivalents in all EU languages will also increase the efficiency of DesignView, with searches by product indication returning more precise results, especially for searches across multiple Offices. Not only will this facilitate priority checks for examiners, but it will afford users greater decision predictability as well, as it will be easier to determine the novelty of a given design based on its product indications.
DesignClass is freely accessible online and EU IP Offices may also implement the tool into their own e-filing systems, on a voluntary basis and according to their established procedures.
More information on DesignClass, including FAQs and tutorials, can be found on the DesignClass webpage.
Source: Press Release EUIPO
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