The year 2020 was colourful and full on work for the Patent Office. There was something new in all areas of industrial property. The accelerated procedure for trade mark applications – a renewal in the area of trade marks intended for all applicants – was received very well and the percentage of applicants requesting faster procedure is growing.
Annual Report 2020
The Estonian Patent Office is a government agency that operates in the area of government of the Ministry of Justice.
The Patent Office has four departments, and the Industrial Property Board of Appeal also operates under the Office. The Head of Information Systems and the Head of Development are directly under the authorisation of Director General. The Deputy Director General organises the work of the Financial and Administrative Department.
The protection of industrial property is an inseparable part of the constitutional legal order. Industrial property is protected under § 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, providing that the property of every person is inviolable and equally protected. Everyone has the right to freely possess, use, and dispose of his or her property.
The Republic of Estonia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 5 February 1994. The Republic of Estonia has acceded to all core level conventions and agreements administered by WIPO in the field of industrial property protection. From 1994 the Estonian delegation attends the annual meetings of the General Assembly of WIPO.
Inventions can be protected as patents or utility models on the grounds of the Patent Act and the Utility Model Act, which entered into force on 23 May 1994.
In Estonia, the protection of industrial designs can be applied for on the grounds of the Industrial Designs Protection Act that entered into force on 11 January 1998. From 1 May 2004, legal acts concerning Community designs, including the Council Regulation 6/2002/EC of 12 December 2001 on legal protection of the Community Designs, are also valid in Estonia.
In Estonia, it is possible to apply for the protection of trade marks under the Trade Marks Act that took effect on 1 May 2004 (the first Trade Marks Act entered into force in 1992). From 1 May 2004, the EU legal acts concerning trade marks are also valid in Estonia.
The Geographical Indications Act has been valid since 10 January 2000. As Estonia acceded to the EU, an amendment was enforced according to which the national law does not regulate the geographical indications of those agricultural products, foodstuffs and alcoholic drinks that are protectable on the level of the European Union. It is still possible to get national protection for geographical indications regarding goods and services of artisanal or industrial origin.
The Board of Appeal is an independent pre-trial institution that solves appeals filed to contest the decisions made by the Patent Office in cases prescribed in the legal acts: complaints concerning the decision, registration procedure, refusal or delay of the registration procedure, and disputes between the third party and the applicant or owner, based on the third person’s opposition, request for the invalidation or termination of the exclusive right, request for the revocation of the right granted to the object of industrial p
Official Gazettes, publications, trade mark quiz, web page of the Estonian Patent Office and social media, website satisfaction study, free consultations
In 2020, the Estonian Patent Office arranged or helped arrange 10 information events with 258 participants in order to raise the intellectual property awareness of different target groups. As a result of the emergency situation, several events had to be cancelled or organised on a smaller scale on the web. Last year, we discussed mostly trade mark protection, copyright and product design issues.
The purpose of the information system of the Patent Office is to operate the industrial property procedure as a single process on a technological platform. The information system is interfaced with a number of other systems and registers, and the smooth operation of the whole system is essential in the day-to-day work of the Office.
On 31 December 2020 there were 65 job positions in the Estonian patent Office, divided as follows: 17 in the trade mark department, 17 in the patent department, 12 in the registry department, 15 in the financial and administrative department, 4 in management and directly under the authority of the Director General.
The revenues accrue from the operations of the Estonian Patent Office, which are subject to the payment of the state fee. The rates of the state fees are specified in the State Fees Act.
The Patent Office is a government agency providing legal protection for industrial property in Estonia. We advise entrepreneurs and inventors and raise public awareness of intellectual property, to promote innovation and the economy and to revitalize the cooperation between science and entrepreneurship.