The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has issued a statement to address the controversial topic of "login for hire" within its environment. It has come to the office's attention that some representatives provide their login credentials in exchange for money to parties outside the EU so they can operate as if they were in the EU. This is not in accordance to law, that demands procedures before EUIPO are performed by qualified representatives based in the EU, and can potentially result in the invalidity of the proceedings.
To prevent abuse, EUIPO is requiring professional representatives to provide evidence of having a real and effective business of employment in Europe. The Office double-checks, in particular (1) when an existing representative requests a second or subsequent ID number; (2) where there is a reasonable doubt regarding possible misrepresentation; and (3) when a third party questions the veracity of the representative’s place of business or employment.
If the representative fails to submit appropriate evidence of sufficient information, the EUIPO will delete them from the list of professional representatives or the database of legal practitioners.
EUIPO says it is aware that some representatives have been leasing their unique User Area credentials to independent third parties. It says: “These third parties do not operate under the direct control, responsibility or supervision of the authorised representative, as defined in Decision EX‑20‑9, Article 3(1). They merely act under their identity. By disclosing their User Area credentials, the representatives grant access to all the files and information stored in their User Area to these third parties. This means they may obtain unauthorised access to confidential files and information relating to other represented persons, resulting in a breach of data protection rules.”
These are good and welcome news for the IP profession and in line to the disciplinary actions against signature fraud already undertaken by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this summer.
Adrian Esquivel Vargas
Esquivel & Martin Santos
Trademark, Patent and IP law firm in Spain