The online trademark filing tool of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) now uses the European Union’s (EU) harmonized database of goods and services (HDB), the world’s largest multilingual trademark classification database.

The HDB includes over 78,000 terms from which users can select when indicating the nature of the goods and services for which the mark is sought. IPOPHL and all EU trademark offices automatically accept all terms in the HDB.

A critical step in the application process is specifying or describing the goods and services associated with a trademark. This will define the scope of the trademark protection sought for and assist IP offices in determining whether a mark is confusingly similar to another, which is a ground for rejection.

The database also integrates the most updated version of the Nice classification — the international trademark classification system, making IPOPHL’s system more harmonized with global trademark filing standards.

“Adopting the EU’s HDB ensures a smooth and more successful trademark application for local businesses filing at intellectual property (IP) offices across the EU and foreign applicants filing at IPOPHL,” IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba said in a statement Monday, August 2.

He said this will eliminate the risk of being objected to or the application getting delayed over classification or description errors, in which case, would mean paying for a new application and waiting longer for a decision.

Barba said those with registered marks can also benefit from this database expansion as this helps them monitor whether their marks are being infringed on and anticipate risks of future cancellation.

“For EU businesses, this greater harmonization between IPOPHL and EU-based IP offices can bring ease in trademark protection, possibly motivating them to set up more shops in or introduce more brands to the Philippines through export,” he said.

IPOPHL is the 17th IP office outside the EU and 85th out of all national and regional IP offices in the world to use the HDB.