The Commerce Department in Malta had previously announced that it will be introducing new online tools to further support Attorneys and end-users with their Intellectual Property services. As promised, the Department has recently established a platform known as the “IP Portal Online Services”. This platform may be used locally to gain access to tools relative to trademarks, registration of designs and patents. This positive approach towards the digitisation of services will prove to be rather beneficial since applications will now be easily accessible to all.
Indeed, these newly introduced tools will allow individuals to transfer the rights or ownership of a trademark and conduct searches for local trademarks as well as other trademarks registered in other Member States within the European Union. Furthermore the Department has provided for another tool which allows users to rectify an applicant’s personal details in a trademark application. An additional tool, commonly known as TMclass will assist users in conducting searches and to categorise Goods and Services in order to be able to submit an application to safeguard a trademark. Users may now file and renew designs and run searches for both local and non-Maltese designs.
Recently, most government departments have introduced online portals to provide users with public services which would normally require face-to-face interaction at the departments. Online portals may now be accessed by logging in through an e-identity account. The main intention behind introducing e-id accounts was to reduce bureaucracy and increase transparency. In light of this, the Department of Commerce has gone a step further since in order to make use of the above mentioned tools an e-id account is not even necessary. A user who does not have an e-id account may submit the mandatory documents and details through the online portal by appearing as a “guest”.
Moreover, apart from hastening the process and reducing paper work, it is now possible to clearly view marks and sketches in high resolution. This advantage is clearly manifested when such marks and sketches are replicated on the Registration Certificate.
Notably, in view of endorsing these innovative tools, the Department is currently organising specialised sessions to train users and IP attorneys working within this field. Since the aforementioned initiatives and tools form part of the Maltese National Digital Strategy for 2014-2015, it is pertinent to point out that the main goal set out in this strategy is to digitise services across all sectors within the Maltese society.