A lot is cooking for ECTA members in June! Here a glimpse of what to expect:
As you know, we are launching soon our new online event concept ECTA Debate Club, a series of educational and networking IP sessions exclusively open to ECTA members for free. The sessions will take place virtually on 15, 17, 25 and 29 June and will be open to a maximum of 30 members to allow interactivity. Places will be assigned on a first come-first served basis, so make sure to apply as soon as the registration opens in the coming weeks!
From 21 to 25 June, we will hold online Supervisory Board and Committee Meetings. While the Supervisory Board will discuss ECTA strategic and financial aspects, Committee Meetings will be an invaluable opportunity to network with peers, advance projects and learn about recent case law, legislative and policy developments. Besides, all ECTA members are invited to join us at the Annual General Meeting on 25 June.
To consult the schedule of June events, please check the News Section in the private site.
We invite you to stay updated by checking the ECTA website, LinkedIn, Twitter and the ECTA APP regularly.
ECTA TAKES A STAND - POSITION PAPER ON 3D PRINTING AND ITS IMPLICATIONS ON DESIGN LAW BY ECTA
By Katri Kiviniemi, ECTA Design Committee member, Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd (FI) and Marta Alves Vieira, ECTA Design Committee Secretary, Vieira de Almeida & Associados (PT)
ECTA’s Design Committee has been carefully following the developments of industrial 3D and 4D printing and their potential impact on intellectual property rights, particularly in design law and practice.
A task force was created within the ECTA Design Committee to monitor the developments in this field and to assess whether a change in the current legislation would be appropriate and recommended in order to deal with the challenges brought by these new technical developments.
3DP is a fast-developing technology, even if it still is somewhat unclear to what extent and how fast it will become more widely spread and used in the industry and in private use. It is, however, clear that this technology and other developing technologies alike are challenging intellectual property laws, and when reviewing changes to these laws, their implications should be anticipated or, at least, taken into consideration.
In April 2020, the European Commission launched a Study carried out for the European Commission, entitled ‘The Intellectual Property Implications of the Development of Industrial 3D Printing’ dated February 2020. In June 2020, the Committee had already been engaged in ECTA’s Brief Report on 3D Printing and Comments to this European Commission Study.
Moreover, ECTA is strongly committed with the European Union Design Reform project and has already contributed to the Public Consultation with an assessment on design law and protection. This contribution led to the European Commission’s Evaluation of EU legislation on design protection published in November 2020.
In this context and based on the ECTA Design Committee’s reflections and discussions in the last years, a Position Paper on 3D Printing and its Implications on Design Law has been approved and submitted by ECTA to the European Commission in April 2021.
This paper addresses several aspects of the design law to be carefully evaluated in relation to 3D printing.
Firstly, the definition of a product should be reconsidered to clearly include new technologies. In this sense, a design within a CAD file should be considered a ‘product’ and a CAD file encompassing the design of a digital item should be eligible for design protection.
Besides, the defence available for acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes in accordance with the Design Regulation should be interpreted narrowly. However, it may be too early to fully understand the practical implications of the use of this exemption considering that widespread use of the 3D printing technology is not yet a reality. Therefore, it may be too early for an actual change in the law in this aspect.
Also, it would be relevant and necessary to explicitly include contributory infringement in the design law to provide legal clarity and more effective tools for rights holders in defending their right.
Considering the potential impact of 3D printing in relation to spare parts, it is advisable to maintain limited and balanced protection for spare parts. In line with the ‘ECTA Position Paper – Designs and Spare Parts’ published back in 2016, it is useful to explore alternatives to achieve a balance between total liberalisation (removing all design protection from items categorised as spare parts) and full exclusivity of design rights in spare parts (even if time restricted).
Finally, considering that there is already a multitude of legal tools, including other IP laws in place to stimulate innovation and control the markets, at the time being there is no further need for a specific sui generis law to govern 3D printing technology. Moreover, ECTA does not see any clear obstacles to further amending the current EU design laws to cover the implications of 3D printing or other related foreseeable digital technologies (such as 4D printing).
Don’t forget to register for the ECTA webinar “Slogans..but made for branding. A new threshold for registrability of slogans after Oatly?” - 18 May 2021 (14.00-15.30 Brussels time)!
ECTA Second Vice-President Carina Gommers (Wiggin, BE) will moderate a high-level panel of speakers comprised of Klaudia Błach-Morysińska (Zaborski, Morysiński Law Office, PL), Luc Suykens (UBA,BE), and Bart ten Doeschate (Heineken International, NL).
How easy is it to register slogans, should they be registered, and what can be done to ensure their protection? After an overview of relevant EU judgements, including the last ‘milky’ case, our speakers will discuss the degree of distinctiveness required and whether it will be easier to register slogans as trade marks. They will also provide insights from a marketing perspective, such as how a slogan is practically developed as well as address in-house legal challenges around this topic.
The webinar will be held in English via the Zoom Webinar platform. The cost is:
• ECTA members - 40,00€ • Non-members - 65,00€ • Students and full-time academics - 15,00€ • Officials - Free of charge
Upon request, you will receive a certificate of attendance, in order to ask for CLE credits from your national Bar Associations, if applicable.
SMEs can apply for financing support under the new Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund until 31 May 2021. This is the third of five windows for applications that will be open in alternate months until September 2021.
The Fund is a € 20 million grant scheme to help enterprises in the EU, that fit the official definition of a SME, access their IP rights. Applications can be made for financial support in the form of reimbursements for trade mark and design application and for IP pre-diagnostic services (IP scan) available at participating national and regional IP offices*. Each SME that applies can be reimbursed up to a maximum amount of € 1.500.
Thanks to the efforts of some User Associations, including ECTA, professional IP representatives can now assist SMEs in deciding about the services offered through the SME Fund as well as requesting the funding in their name. This is a change in comparison to January window 1.
Kindly note that next applications windows will be open according to the following timetable: Window 4 (1 July 2021 - 31 July 2021), Window 5 (1 September 2021 - 30 September 2021).
Full information about the requirements and how to apply for financing support can be consulted on the EUIPO website here. Grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis.
*Before applying, you should check the list to ensure that the IP office in your Member State offers this service.
The EUIPO’s Academy offers webinar courses every Tuesday. These sessions are open to all and a live chat with the speakers will be made available. Please note that the recorded webinars are available on the EUIPO learning portal after the broadcast.
The May schedule of the webinars is as follows:
Tuesday 11 May, 10:00-11:00 (CET): Register and fees operations – the great unknown - Advanced
Tuesday 18 May, 10:00-11:00 (CET): Proof of Reputation: What evidence to submit - Intermediate
Tuesday 25 May, 10:00-11:00 (CET): Plant Variety Rights: insights and tips for enforcers - Intermediate
Tuesday 25 May, 15:00-16:00 (CET): Judicial Cooperation Study
Visit the Academy's Calendar to access the webinars and see the latest updates for the upcoming months.
On the EUIPO Learning Portal you can also find the following eLearning courses:
- AG examination of trade marks that refer to the content of the goods and services - Intermediate - Link
- AI & IP at the crossroad - Intermediate - Link
- Digital Services Act: new rules of the game - Intermediate - Link
For further information please visit the Academy's Learning Portal