Its role was to administer the Community Trade Mark (CTM), a new unitary intellectual property right for the EU. Today, it is the largest EU agency, and one of the biggest intellectual property (IP) offices in the world.
At the end of its first year of operations, OHIM received over 42,000 CTM applications from European and international businesses and individuals, looking to protect their IP rights in the Internal Market. That figure greatly exceeded even the most optimistic predictions, and represented a vote of confidence in the value and utility of the new unitary IP right.
On November 17, OHIM celebrated 20 years of its existence, with the opening of its new building at its seat in Alicante. To date it has received approximately 1.3 million CTM applications from 192 countries and, since 2003, approximately 800,000 Registered Community Design (RCD) applications as well.
In 2013, the IP Contribution Study, carried out jointly by OHIM and the European Patent Office, showed that 1 in 3 of all EU jobs relies on intellectual property rights (IPR)-intensive industries, which in turn provide 39% of total economic activity in the EU. OHIM President António Campinos said: “The new building is a symbol of optimism and an investment in the future of the Office and of the European Union. It will deliver the environment needed for new ways of working that will deliver greater quality and improved efficiency. It also represents a tangible symbol of our celebration of “20 years of excellence through people”.
Daniel Calleja, Director-General for Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission and soon to become Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said: "The internal market is a foundation stone of European prosperity. It needs strong and effective institutions if it is to work properly, and OHIM has shown over twenty years that it is an essential element in building the internal market that we have today. We need risk takers to create tomorrow's jobs, and risk takers need to know that they can reap the rewards of their investment. OHIM plays a central role in giving that protection."