TD&A NEWS: OHIM’s ’10 Years of Community Design’ Conference in Alicante


Europe has just celebrated ten (10) years of community designs with a well attended conference held in Alicante, Spain between April 8 and 9, 2013, organized by the Office for Harmonization on the Internal Market – Trade Marks and Designs (OHIM). Indeed, the conference was attended by well over 600 participants, mostly design attorneys from the Member States as well as from other countries such as China and United States. Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall, Senior partner at Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates was the only participant from Malta at this landmark anniversary conference on community designs.


Various distinguished speakers and IP experts addressed the conference including Mr Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director General, DG Internal Market and Services, the Hon. Jose’ Manuel Sorla, Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Ms Edit Herczoh and Ms Cecilia Wikstrom, Members of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Campinos, President of OHIM, Mr Gregoire Bisson, Director of The Hague Registry, for Brands and Designs, Mr Alberto Casado Cervino, Vice-President of the European Patent Office, Antonio Andrade, Chair of the ECTA Design Committee, Marcus Hopperger, Director of Brands & Designs, WIPO, a number of judges who preside courts specialized for trade marks, patent and design cases, practising advocates in the IP field as well as re-known IP experts such as Sir Robin Jacob, but to mention a few.


Community Designs protection has had a huge positive impact on the European scenario and there exists a correlation on the number of applications filed by a given Member State and that Member State’s economical growth. According to statistics issued by OHIM for the conference, it results that Germany is the top Member State with 169,690 community design applications over a period of ten (10) years since the inception of OHIM’s offices in Alicante in 2003. Indeed, there have been more than 690,000 community design applications as at January 2013 which clearly shows that the community design evolution has been a true success story!


The many and varied topics discussed at the conference included how could a design improve life and therefore, the economy, design filing practices with OHIM and WIPO, enforcement of community designs, the Hague system as well as the Locarno classification, fashion designs, gastronomic related designs, mobile devices designs, urban designs, apart from various case law on furniture, automobiles, relative spare parts thereof and packaging which are deemed important landmark cases for the legal profession.


Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall paid also a courtesy visit to the OHIM offices in Alicante and met officials responsible to assess and decide the numerous applications received for community trade marks, patent and design protection.


Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates can assist clients with intellectual property issues including filing of relative applications for trade marks, patents and design protection as well as representations in litigation proceedings to safeguard and to enforce one’s rights thereon.


Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates is a member of MARQUES, the Association of European Trade Mark Owners which incorporates both trade mark owners and professional legal practitioners.