The IPKat makes no apology for returning to the subject of the forced overcharging of Community trade mark applicants in order to subsidise the activities of national trade mark offices. According to the Press Association:
"The European Union's trademark office is facing an embarrassing cash crisis - hundreds of millions of pounds in the bank and no way of spending it.The IPKat congratulates Wubbo de Boer and his colleagues for making OHIM a better and more pleasant organisation for businesses to deal with, and warmly endorses the call to EU governments to do something about it -- other than just letting the money build up or feed it to national offices. The return of overcharged fees to businesses that are trying to boost Europe's economy and make it more competitive is the right and proper thing to do. Merpel says, who are the people whose responsibility it is to stop this nonsense now? They should be named and shamed -- if they have any shame, that is!
The non profit-making body based in Alicante was set up to register EU-wide trademarks.
But far from not making a profit, the agency has more than £230 million in the coffers - with an extra £190,000 pouring in every working day.
Now the boss of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) has blamed EU governments and euro-bureaucracy for blocking efforts to shift the surplus and cut trademark charges which are making the enterprise an unwanted financial success.
"This is not how it was meant to be" said OHIM President Wubbo de Boer. "It is becoming embarrassing - in fact it's absurd. Here we are sitting on all this money and unable to do anything about it because of the enormous internal bureaucracy we face".
The money cannot be poured into the EU budget: the agency is not a drain on resources because it is self-financing and takes no subsidies.
In his eight years at the agency Mr De Boer has overseen a major reorganisation which has seen productivity rise by nearly 60%.
That, and a thriving market in EU-wide trade mark registrations, has helped income soar.
But he says EU governments themselves are resisting reducing registration fees - because they fear undermining their own national trademark offices, which continue to provide trademarks for small business not intending to trade across borders.
"They think they will be forced out of business if it becomes as cheap to apply for an EU mark as for a national one, but that's not true," said Mr De Boer. "Many people only want a trademark valid in their own country and we will not interfere in that market"."