I am pleased to report that ECTA had another busy and fruitful year.
After a calm summer, the Law Committee was in the starting blocks ready to comment on the draft legislative package regarding the reform of the EU trade mark system which was supposed to be submitted by the European Commission in the autumn but we will have to wait another year.
In the meantime, in order to maintain awareness of and interest in the matter we participated in a hearing of the European Parliament organised by the EPP Group, and we organised during the Danish Presidency, a seminar on the most important challenges of the reform.
We also continued to ensure the promotion of the Hague System through workshops in Paris, Hamburg, The Hague and Madrid. Through these workshops we also enhanced our collaboration with the WIPO and national associations and hope that our most useful discussions will contribute to the improvement of the system of international registration of designs.
Another important point of interest this year was the relationship between trade mark and geographical indications. After having submitted our comments on the new GI regulations, together with the support of the Geographical Indications Committee, we organised a seminar with OHIM in Alicante with a significant number of participants.
Our collaboration with OHIM was reinforced over the year through our participation in numerous fora, such as the Cooperation Fund where four ECTA members are involved, the Convergence programme with one ECTA member, the Administrative Board, Liaison meetings, - which constitute excellent ways to establish links with National offices -, OAMI Users Group meetings, OHIM Website Users Group meetings, ... all of this in addition to our traditional ECTA-OHIM link meetings.
OHIM has an ambitious programme and it will be a challenge for ECTA to remain active on all these fronts and the new ones such as the EU Observatory.
Another challenge that we have faced during the year is the ratification by the European Parliament of the ACTA Agreement.
We have from now on to take into consideration the new legislative process and a more political dimension of our lobbying.
Our main interlocutors (contacts) remain surely the European Commission (DG Markt but also DG Trade, DG Taxud, DG Agri, DG Sanco, DG Infso and the Commissioners responsible for these DGs) but we have now to also closely follow up the work of the European Parliament and join our forces with other trade mark associations in order to defend the trade mark and other IP rights and explain the positive impact of these rights on the EU Economy.
All this work has been accomplished thanks to the work and expertise of our committees and by the full commitment of some of their members which is greatly appreciated and a supportive management team.
Thanks also to the work of a fully dedicated secretariat including a new Legal Coordinator, Ewa Grabiak, extremely enthusiastic and full of fresh ideas, our extremely reliable and efficient Administrative Secretary Cathy Van Vuuren and our Administrative Assistant Petra Haenitsch.
I wish all the best to the new management team and remain of course at its disposal for any support.
Annick Mottet Haugaard
Outgoing ECTA President