20 September 2017Trademarks

Marques 2017: Czech IPO highlights threats to confidence in IP system

The president of the Czech Republic Industrial Property Office, Josef Kratochvil, has warned of practices that are “dangerous” to the future of trademarks in the Czech Republic and the EU.

Speaking on the first day of the Marques 31st Annual Conference in Prague today, September 20, Kratochvil explained that fraudsters using “sophisticated techniques” and pretending to be from official IP institutions are “threatening the confidence in the IP system”.

“I am convinced it is necessary to pay high attention to this matter,” he explained in his opening speech.

“This is not just a problem in the Czech Republic, but across the whole of Europe.”

Kratochvil explained that companies are receiving letters which look official and explain that their trademarks need renewing for a fee.

He added that the letters request money and confuse users of the IP system over renewals, and have fooled some into paying.

“Only when the offer is studied in further detail it is evident it has no legal effect,” he stated.

Continuing his speech, he explained that the Czech IP office has taken steps to counter this, including sending regular reminders to IP owners if their trademark needs renewing, spreading awareness and maintaining an up to date online database with all trademark details.

However, it was not all doom and gloom during his opening speech.

Kratochvil announced that in 2016, the office received 8,000 new trademark applications, and that from file to application, the waiting time was just four months.

He further stated that at the end of 2016 over 1.3 million trademarks had been registered in the Czech Republic, and of these, 120,000 were national and over a million were from the EU.

The Marques 31st Annual Conference runs until Friday, September 22.

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