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OFFICE FOR HARMONIZATION IN THE INTERNAL MARKET (TRADE MARKS AND DESIGNS) Quality Management Department Quality

OFFICE FOR HARMONIZATION IN THE INTERNAL MARKET (TRADE MARKS AND DESIGNS)

Quality Management Department

(TRADE MARKS AND DESIGNS) Quality Management Department Quality Management System Manual Office for Harmonization in

Quality Management System Manual

Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market

Version 4.0 – 09/09/2009

Project

Quality Management System – Phase III

To be

MC

Management Committee of the Office

reviewed and

approved by

 

Author

CDN

Claire Duranton

Contributors

ADC

Andrea Di Carlo

JH

John Hemington

QG

Quality officers in Quality Group

JR

Juan Ramon Rubio

Revision History

Version

Date

Author

Description

1.0

25/04/2007

ADC, CDN, RS

Version for publication

1.1

25/10/2007

CDN

Updates

1.2

08/01/2008

CDN

Updates

1.3

13/02/2008

CDN

Updates

1.4

14/07/2008

JH

Revised to relate more closely to the published QMS. Peer reviewed with QMS Team on 28/07/2008.

1.5

19/08/2008

JH

Revised in line with peer review comments

1.6

21/09/2008

JH

Revised further – mainly diagram updates and moving references to an appendix

1.7

29/10/2008

CDN, JH

Revised in line with review comments from Quality Officers Group, Juan Rubio Munoz (JR), and Miguel Angel Villaroya.

1.8

05/11/2008

CDN

Revised in line with review comments and cross-checks made within the document. Presented to JR

1.9

06/11/2008

CDN

Revised in line with review comments from JR and after presentation to the President

1.10

07/11/2008

CDN

Ready for MC to review and approve.

1.11

19/03/2009

CDN

Revised in line with review comments from DIPP and ITD.

2.0

27/03/2009

CDN

Approved version

3.0

06/04/2009

CDN

Version sent for revision and translation

4.0

09/09/2009

CDN

Final Version

TABLE OF CONTENTS-

VERSION 4.0 – 09/09/2009

1

REVISION HISTORY

2

1. MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE OFFICE (THE OHIM QUALITY POLICY)

4

2. INTRODUCTION

5

2.1

MISSION OF THE OFFICE FOR HARMONIZATION IN THE INTERNAL MARKET (OHIM, THE OFFICE)

5

2.2

STATUS OF THE OFFICE

5

2.3

ORGANISATION OF THE OFFICE

6

2.4

QUALITY AND STRATEGIC GOALS OF THE OFFICE

6

2.5

SCOPE OF THE QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM OF THE OFFICE (QMS)

6

3. QMS ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

9

3.1

PRESIDENT

9

3.2

MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

9

3.3

DIRECTORS

9

3.4

MIDDLE MANAGERS

9

3.5

LEGAL ADVISERS AND DESIGN QUALITY EXPERTS

9

3.6

QUALITY OFFICERS

10

3.7

CHANGE MANAGER

10

3.8

QUALITY OFFICERS GROUP

10

3.9

EXAMINERS & SPECIALISED STAFF

10

3.10

DEPARTMENT FOR INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY POLICY (DIPP)

10

3.11

QUALITY MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT (QMD)

11

3.12

INSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT (IAERD)

11

3.13

HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT (HRD)

11

3.14

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT (ITD)

11

3.15

FINANCIAL DEPARTMENT (FD)

11

3.16

GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT (GSD)

12

3.17

INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY LITIGATION UNIT (IPLU)

12

3.18

INTERNAL AUDITOR AND INTERNAL AUDIT

12

3.19

BOARDS OF APPEAL

12

3.20

EXTERNAL SERVICE PROVIDERS

12

3.21

SCHEME OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM ACTORS

13

4. QMS AT WORK

14

4.1

USERSNEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS

14

4.1.1 User Satisfaction Survey

14

4.1.2 Users’ complaints

15

4.2

WORK PROGRAMME

15

4.3

SERVICE CHARTER

15

4.4

PROCESSES

15

4.4.1 Continuous improvement

16

4.4.2 Process Mapping

16

4.4.3 Decision-making in Industrial Property proceedings

17

4.5

MANAGEMENT OF PERFORMANCE

18

5. QMS MAINTENANCE

20

5.1

DOCUMENTATION

20

5.2

KEY OFFICE DOCUMENTS

21

5.3

AUDITS

21

5.4

SYSTEM REVIEW

22

5.5

AWARENESS, TRANSPARENCY AND SHARING OF INFORMATION

22

6. APPENDIX A. REFERENCES

23

1.

Message from the President of the Office (the OHIM Quality Policy)

This Office has achieved a huge amount in its short history, and has shown what can be achieved by a European Union agency. Quality in its broadest sense has to remain at the heart of how we do business if we are to meet the expectations of our Users and continue to develop and enhance our reputation. This manual is all about how we will make this work in practice. But we will only succeed if this remains a living document, and we all play our part in looking all the time at how we can continually improve the services we deliver internally and externally.

I hope you will help us with this challenge whether you are a User, a Member of Staff or a Supplier to the OHIM.

2. Introduction

2.1 Mission of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market 1 (OHIM, the Office)

The OHIM is the agency of the European Union responsible for granting trade mark and design titles of protection which are valid and enforceable throughout the whole EU territory; its primary responsibilities however, are not as varied and as wide-ranging as those corresponding to the vast majority of Industrial Property offices (its core task encompasses the management of the Community Trade Marks and Community Designs registration systems).

The mission of the Office is to manage the Community Trade Mark and Community Design registration systems. In order to do so, the Office carries out examination, registration, opposition and cancellation procedures for Community Trade Marks and examination, registration and invalidity procedures for Registered Community Designs. All decisions adversely affecting a User can be appealed before the Boards of Appeal of the Office. It keeps public registers of these rights and procedures. It shares the task of issuing decisions on requests for invalidity or revocation of registered rights with the Courts of the EU Member States.

The Office strives for harmonization and co-operation with other Industrial Property offices. It harmonises practices and standards of examination, it advocates progress towards the global harmonization of standards and creates common interfaces and platforms for better serving Users’ needs.

To keep competitive in a globalised business environment, businesses need Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Offices (both national and international) that work diligently in the creation and protection of their Industrial Property assets.

Therefore, all legal systems and all public organisations (Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Offices) dedicated to the issuance of titles of protection and promotion of Industrial Property Rights, must strive for quality, certainty, cost-effectiveness, accessibility and efficiency.

Consequently, the OHIM, like any other Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Office of the 21st century, must be a quality-focused, productive, agile, user-friendly, accessible, efficient and cost-effective organisation.

2.2 Status of the Office

The Office is a public establishment that enjoys legal, administrative and financial autonomy. The Office was created under European Community law and is a European Community body with its own legal personality. Its activities are subject to Community law. The Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice of the European Communities are responsible for overseeing the legality of the Office's decisions. The Office is responsible for balancing its budget from its own revenue, which is derived mainly from the fees for the application, registration and renewal of trade marks and designs.

1 http://oami.europa.eu/en/mark/role/brochure/br1en09.htm

2.3

Organisation of the Office

The Office is organised as follows:

Paul Maier President Boards of Appeal
Paul Maier
President
Boards of
Appeal
 

Wubbo de BOER

 

Peter Lawrence

 
 

PRESIDENT

     

Vice-President

Beate Schmidt

Hans

Peter Rodinger

Andrea Di

Vincent

Peter

 

Peter

Marc

Juan Ramón

Oreste

Miguel Angel

Javier

Jakobsen

Carlo

O'Reilly

Lawrence

Lawrence

Vanaeken

Rubio Muñoz

Montalto

Villarroya

Rujas Mora-

Trade Marks

Designs

   

Rey

and

Trade Marks

Department

Institutional

IP Policy

Finance

 

Human

Information

Quality

IP Litigation

General

Internal

Cancellation

and Register

Affairs and

Department

Department

Resources

Technology

Management

Unit

Services

Auditor

Department

Department

External

Department

Department

Department

Department

Relations

Department

A more complete Office organisation chart is maintained by the Human Resources Department (HRD) and is available at:

http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/OHIM/institutional/organisationalChart.en.do

2.4 Quality and Strategic Goals of the Office

To achieve our vision 2 , we are focusing on the following strategic goals 3 which in turn entail the OHIM’s quality goals:

Ref:

Goal

Reach full electronic business with maximum empowerment of users to perform many of the services directly without intervention from the Office thus enhancing availability, speed and predictability. Continuously improve our service standards and consistency of decisions by closely measuring our performance, reporting deviations and initiating immediate action.

G1

G2

G3

Increase efficiency in our processes to improve productivity, keep our pendency times on target and clear any existing backlogs.

G4

Cooperate with other IP offices to promote the global harmonization of practices and create common interfaces and platforms.

The Office strives to meet the customers’ needs and expectations and to make effective and efficient use of resources. Goals 2, 3 and 4 have been defined to this end. The Quality Management System contributes to achieving Goals 2, 3 and 4.

2.5 Scope of the Quality Management System of the Office (QMS)

The Quality Management System serves the staff of the Office in applying its Quality Policy and in pursuing the consistent achievement of its Quality and strategic Goals. The Office shall establish, document, implement and maintain the QMS and continually improve its effectiveness.

The QMS comprises the three elements of people, processes and systems. The effectiveness of the QMS depends on having all three elements in place and aligned.

The initial focus of the QMS was on the core services relating to trade marks and designs that the Office provides to its Users. It therefore included all the activities that relate to those services, plus some supporting activities.

2 The vision is stated in the Work Programme 2009 3 Same as above, the strategic goals are stated in the Work Programme 2009.

To avoid confusion, the scope has been revised in the light of QMS developments and now includes 4 :

Mail Reception and Dispatch

Data Reception and Capture

Key In

Fee Management

Examination

Search (for trade marks only)

Translation

Publication

Opposition (trade marks only)

Registration

Certificates

Administration and maintenance 5

Appeal

Manage project and service portfolios 6

Work Programming (Business Planning)

Customer Relationship Management

Help Desk (in relation to Customer Relationship Management only)

Manage stakeholder relationships

Monitor and report on performance, risk and quality

Human Resource Management

Financial Management

Facilities Management

Supplier Relationship Management.

Information Technology Development (ITD) and IT Operations Services (IT-IOS)

Help Desk

The QMS will be extended in phases until it is able to support all the activities of the Office (see Appendix A, references 4 and 27).

The QMS applies to everyone at the Office who is involved with the activities covered by the QMS. All

4 For core business activities the terms refer to trade marks and designs

5 This includes conversions and records

6 Project Portfolio Management is concerned with the management of a portfolio of projects, both pending and active, so that business changes are delivered in an optimal way. This area includes the Business Change processes.

personnel will be affected by the QMS to some degree, even though some who work in support departments will not have all the required processes mapped from the beginning.

The QMS is concerned with the sharing of best practice as well as the spreading and use of this knowledge. It serves as a repository for the collective wisdom of the organisation and as a vehicle for promoting continuous improvement and organisational learning. It aims at making available all the relevant knowledge necessary to implement the processes at one entry point. It supports collaboration across the OHIM and with the OHIM’s service providers.

The QMS defines the way that the OHIM currently works and provides the means for managing the Office’s evolution (see Appendix A, references 1 and 2).

The QMS has been designed to meet the requirements of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001, and the part of the system which relates to Designs processing is being prepared for an assessment against this standard (see Appendix A, references 4 and 6).

Matters relating to information security are addressed by the OHIM Information Security Management System which has achieved certification to ISO 27001(see Appendix A, references 7 and 8).

The Risk Prevention Sector is implementing an Occupational Health and Safety System to comply with OHSAS 18001 (see Appendix A, reference 33).

3.

QMS roles and responsibilities

3.1 President

The President is the sponsor of the OHIM Quality Policy (see Message from the President of the Office in paragraph 1 above). He is committed to the Quality Management System because it establishes and fulfills the Quality Policy and the Quality Goals. He ensures that the Quality Management System is established and maintained in order to achieve these objectives.

3.2 Management Committee

The Management Committee (MC) of the Office has overall responsibility for the Quality Management System. It establishes its scope, priorities, roles and responsibilities. The Committee defines the organisation’s priorities for the achievement of Quality Goals and supervises the functioning of the Quality Management System to ensure that performance is aligned to the Goals. The MC runs an annual review of the QMS to ensure that it is operating effectively 7 .

3.3 Directors

Each Director fulfills the role of Process Owner for one or more processes. For some processes, the Director may choose to delegate this responsibility to a named manager. The Process Owner is responsible for managing the process so that it meets user requirements and delivers business value. This includes responsibility for implementing the process 8 , for defining, implementing and using performance measures, for maintaining the process, and for ensuring that the process is aligned and remains aligned to OHIM policy. The Directors communicate to their staff the importance of meeting Usersrequirements while complying with the legal framework and making efficient use of resources. Directors are responsible for ensuring that the quantity and quality of resources under their management are at the right level for efficient and effective performance of the processes for which they are responsible.

3.4 Middle Managers

Middle Managers support the Directors in performing the duties mentioned above. They manage resources in order to achieve the Quality Goals and established objectives. Middle Managers have to play a key role in the communication chain between management and employees. They provide guidance to employees to ensure they understand the Quality Policy of the Office (see Message from the President of the Office in paragraph 1 above).

3.5 Legal Advisers and Design Quality Experts

Legal Advisers for trade mark processes and quality experts for design processes support Examiners in the course of their decision-making work in Industrial Property proceedings. They keep up-to-date with the case-law and provide advice to Examiners. For CTM, Legal Advisers, together with Senior Examiners and DIPP Staff (see 3.10), run ex-post and ex-ante Quality Checks of the decisions of the Examiners and give them advice for improvement. Legal Advisers and quality experts cooperate with the Department for Industrial Property Policy to establish and revise the Manual on Current CTM Practice and the Guidelines (both Trade Marks and Designs) (see Appendix A, references 32, 3 and

5).

These specialists come together in the Legal Advisers Group for trade marks and the Harmonization Group for designs, where they discuss and resolve the issues and questions that arise before informing the respective examiners of their decisions.

7 The first review will take place in 2009. 8 This includes all necessary communications to and training of the people who perform the process.

3.6

Quality Officers

Quality Officers implement, maintain and improve the Quality Management System (see Appendix A, reference 31). They provide leadership and guidance on quality issues in their respective departments. They help Directors to match processes to the objectives of the Office, to put in place process measures that are aligned to the service standards in the Service Charter, and to review and update Process Cards. They support the QMD (Quality Management Department) in monitoring the performance of the processes managed within their department and suggest improvements. They gather suggestions for improvement from staff working in the relevant processes and evaluate their feasibility and impact with the help of the QMD. To perform their duties Quality Officers have an appropriate knowledge of departmental processes and quality management skills and follow specific training programmes. They are the departmental contact point for quality issues related to processes, and cooperate with the Quality Management Department in resolving these issues.

3.7 Change Manager

The Change Manager has a key role in operating the centralised part of the business change process, including assessing new Requests for Change (RFCs), allocating impact assessors, co-ordinating Impact Assessment Review Meetings and keeping Quality Officers informed (see Appendix A, reference 14). The Change Manager is also responsible for proposing the allocation of impact assessed Requests for Change to projects and the creation of new projects in the Project Portfolio (see Appendix A, reference 15). The Change Manager updates the Project Portfolio, creating new projects as necessary, and allocating all of the reviewed RFCs.

3.8 Quality Officers Group

The Quality Officers Group consists of Quality Officers and representatives of the Quality Management Department. The Group meets regularly to review QMS plans, communications and training products. It participates in impact assessments and supports benchmarking initiatives. It contributes to the development, implementation and maintenance of the QMS. It acts as a focal point for overseeing and harmonising all process and quality initiatives in the Office.

3.9 Examiners & Specialised Staff

Examiners & specialised staff (e.g. staff working with searches or translations) are a key part of the Quality Management System. They deliver the services to the Users. The Quality Management System must ensure that examiners can perform their function and deliver the services with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Examiners & specialised staff are an active part of the QMS. They follow the practice of the Office 9 and the processes as described in the process cards. They use the tools provided by the Office to carry out their work. By doing this, they contribute to the quality of the services delivered to the users. They provide feedback to other quality players, especially Middle Managers and Quality Officers, on the functioning of processes. Managers and Quality Officers motivate Examiners to provide suggestions for improvement.

3.10 Department for Industrial Property Policy (DIPP)

The DIPP is responsible for supporting the core business departments on Industrial Property decision- making. In particular, the DIPP issues and keeps the Manual on Current CTM Practice and the Guidelines (both Trade Marks and Designs) 10 up-to-date to provide examiners with the latest, comprehensive reference works (see Appendix A, references 32, 5 and 3). Moreover, the DIPP is consulted on all difficult issues related to compliance with rules and regulations applicable to the core business functions of the Office. The DIPP is advised of the Quality Checks of Examiners’ decisions performed by Legal Advisors and quality experts, evaluates the results and suggests measures, together with the core business, for quality improvement. The DIPP also provides instructions and

9 For trade marks the Manual on Current CTM Practice and for Designs the Designs Manual. 10 For trade mark matters, the Manual is the first point of reference for Examiners.

data in the form of databases, e.g. the Goods and Services database.

3.11 Quality Management Department (QMD)

The QMD coordinates the functioning of the QMS. It reports to the Management Committee on the performance of the System and any need for improvement. The QMD is responsible – in co-operation with Directors, Middle Managers and Quality Officers – for identifying problems that may require preventive or corrective actions in order not to jeopardise the achievement of Quality Goals.

The QMD is also responsible for supporting departments in continuously improving the services and functioning of their processes and identifying areas for technical improvements. In cooperation with Quality Officers, it evaluates and puts in place all suggestions for improvement which increase the added value, economy or efficiency of the processes of the Office. The QMD oversees - upon request of the process owner - the design, production and deployment of software and other process tools and mechanisms to simplify processes and improve services.

The QMD has a Performance Management Unit (PMU) which aims to offer the OHIM, and in particular its Management, an effective statistical and reporting tool to assist with decision making. It offers the OHIM - and particularly its senior and middle managers - quantitative analyses of the main processes, detection and explanation of deviations and anomalies, proactive analyses of the impact which any proposed changes in the processes, technologies or user behaviour may have on production flows and defined quality standards. The PMU also regularly develops and prepares, in conjunction with other departments, an OHIM Work Programme that establishes quantifiable objectives for all the Office’s activities, in line with the organisation’s strategic objectives.

3.12 Institutional Affairs and External Relations Department (IAERD)

The IAERD gathers, analyses and distributes information about User requirements to all the Office staff involved in quality issues. It is responsible for dealing with User relationship management, Users’ feedback, and complaint management. The IAERD also makes sure that the Office understands Users’ requirements and, in return, communicates its related achievements to Users and other stakeholders.

3.13 Human Resources Department (HRD)

The HRD ensures that human resources with the appropriate set of skills are provided to achieve the Office’s quality goals. The HRD is responsible for the annual appraisal of OHIM staff, for promoting development, and for providing training activities. It is also responsible for the management of individual staff entitlements.

The HRD is responsible for the working environment at the OHIM and ensuring compliance with the applicable health and safety regulations. The Social Sector is responsible for the welfare of staff.

3.14 Information Technology Department (ITD)

The organisation relies on the ITD. It provides the Office with the most adequate information systems, guarantees required systems availability and data protection, as well as giving permanent support to systems users. The ITD ensures that the Office has the proper technical tools to support its business processes. This includes making available e-business tools for external Users. Examiners strongly depend on IT since Community Trade Mark files and Design files are handled electronically. The ITD ensures that the performance of systems is stable so that Users of the systems and staff at the Office can carry out their activities.

3.15 Financial Department (FD)

The FD makes sure that the Office has the financial resources to achieve its quality objectives, and that the Office manages its finances properly. The FD and the QMD collaborate with all the other departments to set up the Work Programme and report on their performance in relation to it.

3.16

General Services Department (GSD)

The GSD comprises Facilities Management, Asset and Performance Management, the Documentation Centre and Linguistic Teams.

3.17 Industrial Property Litigation Unit (IPLU)

The IPLU represents the Office before the Court of First Instance and the European Court of Justice in cases filed against decisions of the Boards of Appeal.

3.18 Internal Auditor and Internal Audit

The Internal Auditor is responsible for Internal Audit (IA) activities within the Office. The authority of the IA is derived from the President of the Office and is governed by the Institute of Internal Auditors standards and practice notes. The purpose of the IA is to assist management and provide independent, objective assurance and consulting services designed to add value and improve the organisation’s operations. It helps the organisation accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach so it can evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.

3.19 Boards of Appeal

The Boards of Appeal hear and adjudicate appeals as authorised by the Community Trade Mark and Community Design Regulations. To achieve this purpose, and to ensure public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the appeal process, the Board’s members and their staff pursue the following goals: they resolve appeals in a timely fashion; they issue impartial and independent decisions based upon the evidence and arguments presented before the Boards; they issue clear, concise decisions which set forth the Board's findings; they ensure all communications with the public are clear, concise, accurate, and timely; finally they maintain the highest standards of integrity, efficiency, and performance.

3.20 External Service Providers

The OHIM contracts a number of suppliers who provide a range of services in support of the Office’s delivery of services to Users. OHIM managers monitor the performance of the suppliers in relation to timescale, cost and the quality of the services they provide.

3.21

Scheme of Quality Management System Actors

Users and Stakeholders

Services provided and Outputs produced by the Office Meeting Needs Compliance with Rules and Regulations
Services provided and Outputs
produced by the Office
Meeting Needs
Compliance
with Rules and
Regulations
and
expectations of
Effective and
Efficient Use of
Resources
Users
Harmonization
of IP practices,
Cooperation,
Benchmarking
Change
Manager
Performance
Monitoring Unit
Examiners
External Service
providers
Specialized Staff
Quality Officers
& Quality Group
Legal Advisers and
Design Quality Experts
Middle and line
Managers
Directors of Core Business Departments
(Trade marks, Cancellation, Register and Designs departments)
Human resources
Industrial Property
Quality Management
General Services
Department
Policy Department
Department
Department
Institutional Affairs
& External Relations Department
Finance Department
Information Technology
Department
President
Vice-President
Management
Committee
Internal Auditor
Boards of Appeal & their
members
IP litigation Unit
Internal Auditor Boards of Appeal & their members IP litigation Unit Quality Manual - v4.0 EN.DOC

4.

QMS at work

Users’ Needs and Expectations

Users’ Needs and Expectations
Users’ Needs and Expectations
Users’ Needs and Expectations
4. QMS at work Users’ Needs and Expectations res sU ta’ afsiS onitc 4.1 Users’ needs
res sU
res sU
ta’ afsiS onitc
ta’ afsiS
onitc

4.1 Users’ needs and expectations

The Office aims to fulfill Users’ needs and expectations while meeting legal requirements and making efficient use of resources. Thus, User opinion and focus group opinion are a fundamental part of the Quality Management System of the Office.

The Office gathers User’s opinions concerning the services it offers through different channels, for example, through users groups for trade marks, focus groups for designs, the E-business User Group, INTA (International Trademark Association) and liaison meetings. Through these channels, Users advise the Office on how to develop new tools. Furthermore, to make sure that User feedback is integrated in how the Office works, the Office has set up systematic processes for surveying User needs and dealing with complaints.

4.1.1 User Satisfaction Survey

The User Satisfaction Survey is conducted once a year (see Appendix A, reference 11). The objective of the Survey is to identify areas of improvement and to enable the Office to set appropriate priorities to enhance its services and to measure overall satisfaction. In summary, the aim is to create a virtuous circle in which User needs are used to set improvement goals. Achievement against goals is monitored through performance indicators and communicated to Users. This then leads to a fresh User input, thus creating a cycle in which the Office continuously improves in the direction that its Users demand. The IAERD issues a User Satisfaction report to summarise the results of the Survey.

The report is published on the OHIM’s intranet (i.e. INSITE 11 ) and its internet website 12 .

4.1.2 Users’ complaints

Users have the right to complain about any aspect of the activities of the Office. Lodging a complaint must be simple and easy. Complaints must receive suitable answers in a timely manner.

The Customer Care Unit (IAERD) ensures the effective handling of complaints (see Appendix A,

reference 12). The Unit maintains a register of complaints to ensure that they are treated and closed

to the satisfaction of the User in a reasonable timescale.

The Unit issues a monthly report containing the number of complaints received and detailing the main reasons for them (Complaints Report). The report is sent to Directors, Middle Managers, and Quality Officers and serves to highlight areas where urgent corrective action must be taken.

4.2 Work Programme

The Work Programme is the document that transforms organisational goals into operational terms. It

defines:

- the initiatives/projects to be carried out for each line of activity

- the measurable objectives

- the service standards to which the Office wants to commit vis-à-vis Users

- the performance targets that “core processes” must meet to enable compliance with service standards.

A one-year Work Programme and three-year budget estimate are prepared. An annual revision of the

Programme is undertaken to adapt it to changing circumstances.

4.3 Service Charter

The Service Charter lists the Service Standards defined in the Work Programme.

Service Standards set the desired levels of service Users would expect the Office to meet. The standards cover both process performance (standards of time, accessibility, etc.) and the quality of decisions made during Industrial Property proceedings.

The Charter is drafted by the QMD, approved by the Management Committee and published on the OHIM’s intranet and website 13 (see Appendix A, reference 10). Performance against the listed standards is evaluated at the end of each quarter and reported publicly on OAMI-ONLINE (Service Standards Quarterly Report). The Charter is revised annually.

A report on the performance of the Office, when compared to the Service Standards, is issued at the

end of each year and published on OAMI-ONLINE (Annual Report).

4.4 Processes

The OHIM’s processes are based on a plan designed to ensure clarity, aptness and consistency and

to avoid duplication (see Appendix A, reference 29).

The following Process Model organises the processes into eight process areas:

11 INSITE is the name for the Office’s internal website (only for internal use)

12 OHIM website = http://oami.europa.eu/ 13 OHIM website = http://oami.europa.eu/

QMS Process Model

(Click on the process that interests you)

A- MANAGE STAKEHOLDER RELATIONSHIPS B - MAINTAIN BUSINESS PLANNING H - DELIVER GENERAL SUPPORT SERVICES
A- MANAGE STAKEHOLDER
RELATIONSHIPS
B - MAINTAIN BUSINESS
PLANNING
H - DELIVER GENERAL SUPPORT
SERVICES
G - MONITOR AND REPORT ON
PERFORMANCE, RISK & QUALITY
C - MANAGE PROJECT AND
SERVICE PORTFOLIOS
D - DELIVER USER
SERVICES
E - DELIVER CORE BUSINESS
SUPPORT SERVICES
F - DELIVER CHANGE
PROJECTS

The OHIM processes are published on the QMS pages of the intranet (see Appendix A, reference 26).

4.4.1 Continuous improvement

Directors, Middle Managers and Quality Officers are committed to continuously searching for ways to improve the processes they are responsible for in order to meet Users’ requirements in a more efficient and consistent manner. Improvements must include being faster, more process-centric, more service-oriented, more agile, more reliable, and more cost-effective. This involves simplifying processes, eliminating bureaucracy, striving for transparency and enhancing expertise. It also means becoming a true “electronic or e-office” where geography and time should be irrelevant when doing business with the OHIM.

Improvement suggestions can also come from Examiners and other staff performing specific tasks. Staff improvement ideas and suggestions are registered and systematically dealt with (see Appendix A, reference 16). Quality Officers are responsible for the handling and implementation of improvements in collaboration with the QMD.

Complex improvement initiatives are managed as independent projects with clear scope, objectives and deadlines (see Appendix A, references 14 and 15). Continuous improvement projects are managed by the QMD and the ITD in collaboration with Quality Officers.

The Designs Department has a Quality Circle, composed of volunteer Staff who meet monthly. The aim is to analyse problems and to propose improvements.

4.4.2 Process Mapping

Process management, the work of examiners, and continuous improvement require processes to be fully documented and that that documentation is kept up-to-date (see Appendix A, reference 25).

Process Cards are used for defining and documenting processes. Process Cards consist of a flowchart of the activities involved in the process, as well as a description of tasks that form part of those activities. They refer to standard letters, templates and forms that play a part in the process. Moreover, Process Cards provide information concerning the Process Owner (responsible for the process), the objectives, performance indicators and resources of the process.

Quality Officers prepare and update Process Cards in collaboration with the QMD. Whenever processes are implemented for the first time or the process cards are updated, staff who perform the processes are notified through communications and/or training as appropriate.

Whenever projects deliver changes to business processes, the scope of the project includes the new or changed Process Card(s) as well as any supporting IT tools.

4.4.3 Decision-making in Industrial Property proceedings

Decision-makers in Industrial Property proceedings are provided with comprehensive, up-to-date guidance in the form of the Manual on Current CTM Practice and the Guidelines (for both Trade Marks and Designs), a database of decisions and Legal Advisers Minutes. The Office has, for Trade Marks, a tool for electronic workflow (the Euromarc++) and an electronic repository of files (Filenet P8). It is becoming an electronic office with increasing support tools for decision-making. Further tools for Trade Marks include the template generator, examiner desktop, Euroace classification search and tools to develop the building of the Opposition file. The guidance documents are published on the OHIM’s website (see Appendix A, references 13, 5 and 3). A knowledge management programme has been started in order to ensure that appropriate management of knowledge is carried out.

Where changes in Trade Mark case-law, or other events, give rise to an immediate change of practice, this is reflected in a change to the Manual on Current CTM Practice, so that Examiners and external parties are informed about how the legal practice of the Office has changed on a specific matter (see Appendix A, reference 17). If the change of practice concerns a matter of potential controversy, a period of external consultation is opened to gather User opinion. Changes to the Manual are from time to time brought together as an update to the Guidelines (Trade Marks).

Where changes to Designs case-law, or other events, require a change of practice, this is reflected in a change to the Guidelines (for Designs) (see Appendix A, reference 18).

The intended purpose is to make sure Examiners take clear and consistent decisions and Users are aware of the guidance given to examiners so that they can reasonably predict the outcome of a decision on their application.

Elements of Quality Management System

Users Satisfaction Survey Users Complaints Service Charter Quality Performance Continuous Preventive and Management
Users Satisfaction Survey
Users Complaints
Service Charter
Quality
Performance
Continuous
Preventive and
Management
Planning,
Quality Checks
Improvement
Corrective
Quality Circles
System
Monitoring
Projects
Actions
Review
and Reporting
Working manual
Process Cards
Training
4.5 Management of Performance
Management of Performance is a horizontal function that aims to check the degree of compliance of
the organisational performance with the Work Programme, as well as enabling the Office to take
preventive or corrective actions to reduce the risk that internal and/or external events will jeopardise
the achievement of Quality Goals.

This function is performed by the QMD and involves the following tasks:

Defining and maintaining Key Performance Indicators aligned to the Work Programme and to the Service standards.

Carrying out analyses of results against the Work Programme objectives.

Defining process performance indicators in collaboration with Process Owners that ensure alignment of processes with Work Programme objectives.

Informing Process Owners of deviations and the estimated impact on Work Programme objectives, as well as collaborating with them in the definition and implementation of corrective actions.

Investigating and evaluating any impact that changes to processes, technology and User behaviours may have on strategic objectives and proposing preventive actions to the Process Owner or Director.

The DIPP and Examiners 14 , Quality Officers, Middle Managers, Directors, and Legal Advisers co- operate with the Quality Management Department to define and implement indicators concerning the

14 Examiners of trade marks and designs

quality standards of decisions made in Industrial Property proceedings and to propose corrective and preventive actions in case of non-compliance (see Appendix A, reference 24). Where established indicators involve ex-post Quality Checks on Trade Mark decisions, the DIPP establishes the procedure and Legal Advisers and DIPP Experts run the Checks (see Appendix A, reference 19). Such Quality Checks are performed weekly and results are reported monthly and quarterly. For Designs decisions, Quality Checks of the RCD Bulletin are performed weekly and the results are reported quarterly (see Appendix A, reference 20). The Quality Checks are a core element of the QMS. The Office defined the quality criteria 15 to be followed for the classification of files and for drafting decisions in trade mark matters. The Office distinguishes between the objective criteria (i.e. spelling mistakes, wrong template used etc.) and the subjective criteria (i.e. accepting or refusing a mark). The aim of the Office is to try and reduce the possibility of making “subjective” errors by providing more tools to help examiners (i.e. database on the similarity of goods and services, knowledge management tools, instructions to be followed by examiners, etc.). This way, the number of “subjective” errors made could be reduced and criteria for “zero tolerance” on objective errors could be introduced.

A monthly report is published on INSITE (look for M.O.R.E.) on performance against the Service Standards (see Appendix A, reference 23).

Quarterly Performance Reports are prepared to communicate performance against the Service Standards’ objectives and are published on the OHIM’s intranet site.

The Management Committee evaluates the Reports and decides on preventive and/or corrective actions and priorities.

An Annual Report is prepared at the end of each year and published on the OHIM’s website 16 .

15 See the Service Charter including the quality criteria on OHIM Website http://oami.europa.eu/

16 OHIM website = http://oami.europa.eu/

5.

QMS maintenance

5.1 Documentation The Quality Management System documentation comprises this Quality Manual and all the material that defines and supports the processes, as represented in the following diagram. The Office strives to make the processes - and all the related documentation to the processes - available in one single place which users can access easily.

in one single place which users can access easily. The QMD retains a master copy of
in one single place which users can access easily. The QMD retains a master copy of
in one single place which users can access easily. The QMD retains a master copy of
in one single place which users can access easily. The QMD retains a master copy of
in one single place which users can access easily. The QMD retains a master copy of

The QMD retains a master copy of the Quality Manual and Process Cards (see Appendix A, reference 30), while the DIPP retains a master copy of the OHIM Manual on Current CTM Practice and of the Guidelines (both CTM and RCD).

Quality System documentation is reviewed on a regular basis. The QMD and the DIPP each maintain a revision schedule relating to the documents for which they are responsible and track all revisions.

Changes to the Quality Manual are approved by the Management Committee (MC). Changes to Process Cards are approved by the Process Owners. Changes to the Manual on Current CTM Practice and the Guidelines are approved by the DIPP after consulting with the Trade Marks Departments (TMRD and TMCD) or Design Department as appropriate.

5.2 Key Office documents

Document

Frequency

Driver

Owner

Receiver

Regulations

As required

Changes in

European

Stakeholders

practice

Commission

Decisions and Communications of the President

As required

Changes in

President

Stakeholders

practice

-

QMS elements:

       

Quality Manual of the Office

As required

QMD

President

MC,

Stakeholders

Process Cards 17

As required

QO/QMD/

Directors

Stakeholders

Process

Owners

Manual on Current CTM Practice

As required

DIPP

DIPP

Staff TMDs

Designs Manual

As required

DD

DD

Staff DD

Guidelines

As required

DIPP

DIPP

Staff TMDs

Ex-post Quality Checks

Weekly

DIPP

Directors

Staff

-

For Users:

       

Revised Service Charter

Annual

QMD

MC

Stakeholders

Service Standards Results

Quarterly

QMD

MC

Stakeholders

Users Satisfaction Report

Annual

IAERD

MC

Stakeholders

Annual Report

Annual

IAERD

IAERD

Stakeholders

-

For Management:

       

Complaints Report

Monthly

IAERD

IAERD

Directors/QO

M.O.R.E

Quarterly

QMD

MC

Stakeholders

Work Programme

Annual

FD/QMD

MC

Directors/QO

/Staff

Audit Programme

Annual

Audit Unit

MC

Directors

Audit Reports

As scheduled

Audit Unit

Directors

Directors/QO

Key: QO = Quality Officers Stakeholders = Staff, Users, the Administrative and Budget Committee (AB, BC) and all parties involved or interested in the activities of the Office

5.3 Audits

Internal audits are carried out to verify whether actual working practice complies with the planned arrangements including the processes that govern the activity (see Appendix A, references 21 and 22). Audits also help to identify necessary improvements and to determine if processes are effective and efficient and if responsibilities have been correctly assigned.

The subject and frequency of the audits depends on the number, importance and complexity of the activities to be audited and takes account of:

Top management priorities

Business risks

The results of previous audits

Significant changes to the organisation of the Office, Departments or to processes

17 Please note that the process cards for the trade marks examination, opposition and registration processes have been communicated as a “binding tool” to examiners.

Significant changes to statutory or customer requirements

The results of complaints or other customer feedback

The concerns of Middle Management

The audits determine whether the Quality Management System is being effectively implemented and maintained and whether the requirements of ISO 9001 are being satisfied.

The Office is subject to audit by the European Court of Auditors twice a year, and by the certification body in relation to ISO 27001 once a year (see Appendix A, reference 7). In addition, the Office invites external audits of specific subjects of interest from time to time.

5.4 System Review

The Quality Officers Group continuously evaluates the effectiveness of the Quality Management System and makes proposals for improvement.

At least once every year, the QMD reports to the Management Committee on the performance of the system and any need for improvement.

5.5 Awareness, Transparency and Sharing of Information

Each member of staff, as well as Users and other stakeholders, must be made aware of the functioning and aim of the Quality Management System. Training material shall be maintained for the induction of new staff to the Office.

The Staff of the Office must have access to quality-related plans and reports, quality indicators, and other communications related to quality. Directors, Middle Managers, Legal Advisers, Examiners and Specialised Staff, and Quality Officers all share information and best practice to improve the overall performance of the Office.

6.

Appendix A. References

The references listed below provide corresponding links to the website or to the intranet, where applicable 18 .

1. Business Change Corner <link to Business Change Corner Insite>

2. Business Change Policy <link to Business Change Corner Insite>

3. Design Guidelines <link to website>

4. QMS Phase IV Plan <link to QMS Insite>

5. Guidelines (CTM) <link to website>

6. ISO 9001 Quality management systems - Requirements

7. ISO 27001 Information technology -- Security techniques -- Information security management

systems – Requirements & OHSAS

8. OHIM Information Security Management System <link to ISMS Insite>

9. OHIM Quality Management System <link to QMS Insite>

10. Process A.00.01 Maintain service charter <link to QMS Insite>

11. Process A.00.02 Perform user satisfaction survey <link to QMS Insite>

12. Process A.00.03 Resolve user complaint <link to QMS Insite>

13. Process A.00.04 Resolve user queries <link to QMS Insite>

14. Process C.00.01 Impact assess and evaluate request for change (RFC) <link to QMS Insite>

15. Process C.00.02 Maintain project portfolio <link to QMS Insite>

16. Process C.00.03 Evaluate improvement idea <link to QMS Insite>

17. Process E.10.01 Maintain Guidelines and the OHIM Manual on Current CTM Practice <link to

QMS Insite>

18. Process E.10.02 Maintain Design Guidelines <link to QMS Insite>

19. Process G.00.01 Perform quality checks (TM) <link to QMS Insite>

20. Process G.00.02 Perform quality checks (RCD bulletin) <link to QMS Insite>

21. Process G.10.01 Perform audit <link to QMS Insite>

22. Process G.10.02 Follow up audit <link to QMS Insite>

23. Process G.50.01 Prepare and report Monthly Operational REport (MORE) <link to QMS Insite>

24. Process G.50.02 Report on service standards performance <link to QMS Insite>

25. Process H.20.01 Maintain process <link to QMS Insite>

26. QMS <link to QMS Insite>

27. QMS Communication Calendar <link to QMS Insite>

28. [Not used]

29. QMS Process Architecture <link to QMS Insite>

30. QMS Process Index <link to QMS Insite>

31. Quality Officer Job Description <link to QMS Insite>

32. The Manual on Current CTM Practice <link to website>

33. OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety System

–check title

18 Note that readers of the version of this Manual which is published on the OHIM website will be unable to follow links to the intranet.