NIPIES (National Intellectual Properties Information Exchange System) is a Bulgarian inter-departmental project with the goal to establish an information exchange, collaboration and dissemination system that integrates Intellectual and Industrial Property (IP) information across all government departments dealing with IP issues. The project was funded by the EC PHARE programme (0201.07 EuropeAid/115513/D/S/BG). Total project cost was 870k EUR, of which the system part (hardware, software, design, development, training) was 325k EUR. The system development project started in Dec 2004 and the system was deployed in Sep 2005. The system was developed by Sirma Group, a major Bulgarian systems integrator and IBM Advanced Partner.
The institutions involved in NIPIES are:
- Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO): main provider of IP information: inventions and utility models, trademarks and appellations of origin, industrial designs.
- Ministry of Culture (MoC): registers and certificates for Copyright and related rights, production orders for movies and sound recordings, production capacities for CDs and DVDs, import and export. Copyright is registered for the following types of artistic works: movies, musical albums, video-clips, songs. Media types include: CD, DVD, audio tapes, video tapes, CD and DVD matrices, etc. The types of rights include: reproduction, transmission on cable, broadcasting on air, production, selling, import, export.
- Bulgarian Customs Agency (BCA): takes border measures for the enforcement of IP rights. Objects include: application for border measures, information about detained goods that infringe on IP rights, etc.
- Ministry of the Interior (MoI): investigations and enforcement of IP rights within the country.
- Ministry of Justice (MoJ): information about IP-related court cases.
NIPIES Project and System
The deployment of such system is part of Bulgaria’s obligations for ascension to the European Union. The following steps were taken to this end:
- New legislation: Law on trademarks and appellations of origin; Law on industrial design; Law on topologies of integrated circuits; Law for the administrative regulation of production and trade of optical discs, matrices and other media carrying copyrighted objects; updated Law on the copy right and related rights.
- Appropriate memoranda legislating the framework for cooperation of the fore-mentioned institutions within NIPIES.
- A twinning project with European partners (the Danish Patent Office and the Queen Mary IP Research Institute of the University of London).
- Specific training in the area of IP protection for appropriate staff of the institutions.Supply of hardware and standard software required for NIPIES.
- Development of the NIPIES system.
In addition to the specific business objects of the institutions listed above, NIPIES supports the following functions:
- Authentication and security.
- History log of changes to business objects.
- Information about people and companies (physical and juridical entities).
- Electronic or scanned document attachments.
- Workflow and events.
- Administration of categories, users and roles.
Amongst its other roles, NIPIES allows search for IP objects by various criteria, paginated result lists of IP objects, detailed information about the selected IP object, displays all images and allows detailed zoom-in.
The system uses a sophisticated software architecture based on:
- IBM DB2 Content Manager: stores data and documents about IP objects from the different institutions
- IBM Websphere Portal: provides the presentation layer
- IBM Websphere Business Integration Server: implements data transfer and mapping between institution-specific databases and NIPIES.
The system uses the high-speed fiber-optics network of Bulgaria’s government administration and is hosted on 5 high-end servers (64 bit, 1 and 2GB RAM, 72GB and above RAID discs).
NIPIES received praise both from its end users (eg BPO experts, MoC copyright experts, BCA experts) and from the EC representatives. According to the European partners of the project (DKPTO and Queen Mary), this is a unique system within Europe, since for the first time such a diversity of national institutions are connected together in the domain of IP protection.NIPIES is hosted and administered by BPO and is available at http://nipies.bpo.bg. It allows the public to search in a uniform way for patents, trademarks, appellations of origin and industrial designs. It provides a significant advance to BPO’s online presence and significant added value to public users of BPO data.