The IPKat thanks his friend Graeme Fearon (Head of Intellectual Property, Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons) for this little item:
"An early Christmas present from UKIPOThe IPKat is pleased that UKIPO keeps doing all those little things to show it really cares. Merpel adds, Graeme has described this search facility as an early Christmas present; let's hope it doesn't end up as a turkey ...
One of the commoner gripes of UK trade mark lawyers is that UKIPO’s public database does not allow proper searching for identical or similar marks. Until now, you’ve been restricted to simple searches for the word elements of marks, and then only where the element starts with a specified string of characters or is an exact match. For anything more sophisticated than this, you’ve had to rely on subscription services (not cost-effective for occasional enquiries) or begging favours from fellow professionals.
But UKIPO has recently unveiled (with an almost total lack of fanfare) an improved search facility. The options on offer include word and/or image searches and more flexibility with the position of search terms within trade marks. You can filter results by reference to Nice class, filing date and mark status. There are even helpful online guides provided in case it’s all a bit much.
Sounds good? Well, on a trial run I went looking for the famous Bass triangle mark (UK 0000914, not its more glamorous cousin UK 0000001), without any success.
It’s not UKIPO’s fault that its image search engine is based on the Vienna classification system, nor that Vienna is somewhat quaint (“Smokers' Requisites“ and “Fabulous Beings”, anyone?) It’s also not UKIPO’s fault that you have to guess how a mark was originally classified.
But why are UKIPO’s drop-down menus too narrow to display the whole title of a category? Category 25 (Ornamental Motifs, Surfaces Or Backgrounds With Ornaments) comes over as “Ornamental Motifs, Surfac”. And why are whole categories omitted? 26 (Geometrical Figures and Solids) and 27 (Forms of Writing, Numerals) are nowhere to be seen. Navigating the byzantine paths of Vienna is bad enough, without having to make do with half a map. Since I’m guessing that the Bass triangle belongs in category 26.3 (Triangles etc) I never stood a chance.
On the plus side, results are displayed clearly and quickly and the glitches mentioned above should be easy to fix. We should then have a significant upgrade of the trade mark professional’s toolbox, perhaps no match for subscription services (searching for lookalikes and phonetic similarities will remain awkward), but better than what we’ve been used to.
The proof of a pudding is, of course, in the eating and so far UKIPO’s festive offering is only half-done. Here’s hoping that, once it’s fully baked, it’s as mouth-watering as it promises. Pass the brand-y butter!"
In his capacity as an extra High Court judge, Lord Justice Pumfrey was in action yesterday, disguised as Mr Justice Pumfrey, in Bernard Edgar Anning's appeal  EWHC 2770 (Pat). This is a sad little case, affirming that the time table for processing a patent application, with its many deadlines, must not be taken lightly. A patent application can either proceed or not proceed -- but you can't just put it "on hold". If your intention is to put your application on hold, it will be taken as an intentional refusal to comply with any requirement imposed by the UK patent legislation.