European Communities Trade Mark Association
European Communities Trade Mark Association
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ECTA is continuing to actively follow the European IP policy developments and contribute to all relevant legal discussions in the interest of our members and the IP Community at large. Despite the current circumstances which make physical meetings difficult, ECTA took part last week in a number of online meetings with the European Commission representatives. This allowed us to discuss and present the views of ECTA members on the key IP policy developments. The meetings were held with relevant DGs (DG CONNECT, DG JUST, DG GROW, DG TRADE, DG AGRI) and the Permanent Representation of Portugal in the EU on the most important topics of the IP agenda in Europe at this moment, including: • Development of the new IP Action Plan; • Digital Services Act Package consultation; • Reform of the Design legislation; • Advancement of the “strengthening GIs” initiative of Policy Reform; • Harmonisation of the main provisions concerning the scope of protection of GIs and future development of the tools (such as eAmbrosia); • Open issues related to IP rights in the context of Brexit; • Ongoing trade negotiations with third countries where IP protection issues are very important; • Discussions regarding the Unified Access Model for gTLD, Privacy Shield and issues related to the cross-border transfer of data; • Many other topics of interest to our members, their work and the projects ongoing within the ECTA Committees. The meetings were attended by the ECTA Board of Directors (President, Anette Rasmussen; 1st Vice President, Mladen Vukmir; 2nd Vice President, Carina Gommers; Secretary General, Carolin Kind; Treasurer, Jordi Güell) and the ECTA Head of Legal Affairs (Anna Ostanina). Some of the meetings were also supported by representatives from our specialised ECTA Committees, such as the Geographical Indications Committee Chair (Paola Ruggiero) and the Chairs of the newly created Data Committee (Delia Belciu) and International Trade Committee (Renate Pouw), focusing on several of the above-mentioned topics. Maintaining direct contact and open dialogue with our colleagues within the European Commission, Parliament, Council, EUIPO, WIPO and other institutions, organisations and associations, is highly important to ECTA and is an integral part in our pursuit of the balance of IP rights.
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Brexit: End of the transition period (Updated information)
The EUIPO has recently issued the following documents, explaining how the Office intends to manage the circumstances that the EUTMRs and RCDs will cease to apply to the UK from the end of the transition period (31 December 2020): • Communication No 2/20 of the EUIPO Executive Director on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on certain aspects of the practice of the Office; • Q&A document for right holders and representatives as concern the general impact on EUTMRs and RCDs in view of the end of the transition period. The document is composed of 55 possible questions of owners and representatives, sorted by relevant subsections, and respective answers. In particular, kindly note the following information: · The Office will invite only rights holders domiciled outside the EU/EEA to appoint a representative, should this become necessary. Such invitation will only be made where such a need actually occurs. This will be the case where the right in question is, or becomes, subject to proceedings before the Office. · Rights holders domiciled in the EU/EEA will not be invited by EUIPO to appoint a representative. Such rights holders who wish to be represented in the proceedings before the EUIPO which are initiated after the end of the transition period, that is as from 1 January 2021, will therefore need to appoint a new representative on their own motion in case that their appointed representative has lost his or her capacity to act before EUIPO as the result of the end of the transition period. Failing this, EUIPO will notify any communication or procedural document directly to the rights holder domiciled in the EU/EEA. · No individual notifications will, in principle, be issued by EUIPO to EUTM and RCD applicants, right holders and professional representatives outside pending proceedings before the Office. · Representatives who lose their capacity to act before EUIPO as the result of the end of the transition period will be (i) automatically removed from all files in EUTM and RCD related proceedings, (ii) deleted from EUIPO’s database of representatives (and, where applicable, from the Office’s list of professional representatives), and (iii) not be able to send mail in relation to a file through the EUIPO’s ‘UserArea’. An exception will only apply where, and to the extent that, such a representative continues to act in so-called ‘ongoing proceedings’ (Art. 97 Withdrawal Agreement). ----- Several ECTA Committees and particularly the Brexit Task Force, now part of the new ECTA International Trade Committee, are closely following the Brexit developments, in order to provide our members with all the relevant information in the field of IP. ECTA is also organising a WEBINAR ON BREXIT on 13 November! Make sure to save this date in your calendar and remember that ECTA members can participate at a reduced fee!
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As of 15 September 2020 (today), rights holder and legal representatives who need to submit a new customs application for action (AFA) or to amend/extend their existing ones must obtain an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number), if they don’t have one yet, and mention this number in the application forms. The same obligation applies for requests for extension of existing AFAs submitted as of 15 September 2020. The EORI number is a unique identification number assigned by a customs authority to an economic operator and used in customs-related activities around the EU. This number is now mandatory according to the new Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1209 of 13 August 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1352/2013, establishing the forms provided for in Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning customs enforcement of IPRs. Users of the IP Enforcement Portal will be guided by the Portal to file their AFAs electronically and will be shown where exactly they need to add the EORI number. Detailed instructions will soon be available in an updated step-by-step user guide to the Portal. In order to find out how to request the EORI number in your Member State, please consult the European Commission dedicated page. If you want to receive more information on including the EORI number in an AFA, please consult the European Commission page on how to defend your rights. To further explain the EORI number and its inclusion in the AFAs, the EUIPO is organising a webinar on 6 October 2020 with the cooperation of the European Commission. Within ECTA the Anti-Counterfeiting Committee (ACC) is following closely issues related to customs and IP rights. If you wish to join the ACC, do not miss the ECTA General Committee Elections upcoming next January!
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The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property improves its Trade Marks Register
The BOIP (Benelux Office for Intellectual Property) integrates AI-powered technology to the search functions available in its Trade marks Register. The main improvements are explained below: Searching for figurative marks BOIP has now integrated the latest image recognition technology in the BOIP Trade Marks Register, thereby making searching for figurative marks straightforward. Not only Benelux trade marks will be displayed, but also EU and international trade marks with validity in the Benelux. Searching for modifications Through the ‘Modification’ tab, all the modifications made to Benelux trade marks are easily searchable. It is possible to search by modification number or by a combination of the modification publication date and type of modification. The display has also been significantly improved. Searching for decisions The ‘BOIP decisions’ tab allows to search for BOIP’s final refusals and, from now on, per ground of refusal. Simple and advanced searches Using a single search field is now possible to search for trade marks, as well as trade mark registration and application numbers. The results can be refined through an advanced search, not only when searching for trade marks, but also when searching for modifications to a trade mark registration (e.g. change of address, a transfer, etc.) or for BOIP refusal decisions. Furthermore, it is possible to search for word and/or device components in combination with specific goods and services, all in one go. Search filters The search can be specified using search filters (e.g. filing date, goods and services or the holder). If you would like to find out more about the improvements of the new Trade Marks Register, how to frame the search and interpret the search results, please click here ECTA strives to keep its members informed of the recent tools and improvements in the field of IP. Don't forget to visit the ECTA website, LinkedIn and Twitter and to download the ECTA APP!
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WIPO Global Innovation Index 2020
WIPO has recently unveiled the Global Innovation Index 2020 presenting the latest global innovation trends and the annual innovation ranking of 131 economies. The topic of this year is Who Will Finance Innovation? because of the impact on humanity and the global economy caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Although many governments are providing relief packages to reduce the damages of the lockdown and prevent the recession, GII 2020 advises that further support is needed, especially for smaller enterprises and start-ups that have difficulties in accessing rescue packages. As far as the annual ranking of the world’s economies on innovation capacity and output is concerned, the GII shows an overall stability at the top, with Switzerland, Sweden, US, UK and the Netherlands, but a shift toward the East in terms of innovation. In particular, China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines have considerably improved in the last years. In addition, the Republic of Korea has joined the top 10 for the first time. The top-performing economies in the GII are still almost exclusively from the high-income group. If you would like to download the full report, please click here If you would like to read the WIPO press release, please click here
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The Study which was recently published by the European Commission and to which ECTA actively contributed, evaluates the cooperation between relevant EU bodies and aims at preventing and fighting speculative and abusive registrations of domain names, as well as providing simplified administrative procedures, especially for SMEs. The collaboration among the .eu Registry (EURid), the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and other Union agencies (in particular Europol) is working as intended, and suggestions to further improve it are provided in the document. The Study also recommends possible simplifications to the .eu registration and other administrative procedures, in order to facilitate the registration and fight speculative and abusive domain name registrations in the .eu domain space. In particular, improvements of the registration procedure are recommended by comparison of the .eu Registry’s procedures with identified EU registry operators in Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Italy and United Kingdom (.be, .dk, .hu, .it, .uk). Our specialised ECTA Internet Committee has been actively involved in preparing ECTA contribution to the Study, whose findings will help to adopt informed policy actions to fight and prevent speculative and abusive registration of domain names. If you are interested in being part of this or another ECTA Committee, do not miss the ECTA General Committee Election coming up next spring!
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The European Commission has recently published two reports highlighting the role of the industry-led Memoranda of Understanding in tackling online counterfeiting and preventing the advertising infringing IPRs. In particular, the REPORT on the 2011 Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the sale of counterfeit goods on the internet highlights the cooperation on the removal of counterfeit goods from the virtual marketplace and provides an overview of the reported practices to tackle the online counterfeiting. The REPORT on the 2018 Memorandum of understanding on online advertising and IPRs unveils that the MoU made brands more aware that their ads may end up on IPR infringing websites. Signatories have exchanged expertise and good practices in the use of technology to monitor the placement of ads, as well as the adjustment of contractual arrangements to reduce piracy. The Commission hopes that these reports will stimulate further and better cooperation of the signatories within the MoUs and that the respective findings of these reports will also feed into the on-going consultation on the Digital Services Act and contribute to developing new initiatives to fight IP theft.
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The European Commission is seeking views and contribution from stakeholders on its Intellectual Property Action Plan, through a roadmap open for feedback until 14 August 2020. The objective of the IP Action Plan will be to set out the European Commission vision on the current role of IP, in order to promote a coherent EU approach to IP policies. The document will be the basis for further legislative and non-legislative initiatives to be taken at EU level. Modern and well-calibrated IP policies will indeed support the competitiveness of the EU economy and facilitate the digital and green transition. The European Commission intends to identify current shortcomings and propose measures to enhance the IP framework, in particular by exploring ways to: - upgrade the system for IP protection (e.g. assess ways to modernize the EU legislation on industrial designs, establish an EU approach to AI and IP protection, ensure the Copyright Directive is implemented promptly, etc.); - promote better uptake and deployment of IP (e.g. mitigate the impact of Covid-19 crisis by setting up financial support systems, enable IP to be used as a lever to get access to finance, etc.); - promote better licensing and sharing of IP-protected assets (e.g. promote efficient use of high-quality rights-management metadata in the copyright market, develop a wider toolbox to ensure the availability of critical IP in times of crisis, etc.); - fight IP theft (e.g. continue to monitor the application of the IPR Enforcement Directive to ensure it is effective and balanced, particularly on injunctions, etc.); - promote a global fair play (e.g. take further steps to ensure that our businesses can effectively use their IP when operating world-wide, step up technical co-operation and engage in dialogues with the developing world, etc.) The input received will be considered for further development of the initiative and summarized in a synopsis, explaining which feedback will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can't be taken up.
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EUIPO has recently published its August eLearning courses. Each course is available in English. The Hague System: Geneva Act & Roles of the Office of a Contracting Party - (21 min) Basic - LINK The Geneva Act: A Roadmap Towards Accession - (29 min) Basic - LINK The objective of both these e-learning courses is to provide legal and technical assistance in preparations for accession to as well as the post-accession of the implementation of the Hague Agreement for the ASEAN Member States. The Brompton bicycle CJEU decision – Where do functional shapes now stand in EU copyright law? - (52 min) Advanced - LINK This webinar analyses the CJEU’s decision of 11 June 2020 (Case C‑833/18, SI, Brompton Bicycle Ltd. v. Chedech / Get2Get). This decision explains how copyright law applies to functional shapes and beyond. Training on the Revised ASEAN Trade Mark Guidelines - (80 min) Basic - LINK This series of online training modules aims to introduce the new updates in the revised ASEAN Common Guidelines for the Substantive Examination of Marks. For further information on the eLearning courses and their speakers, please visit the Academy's Learning Portal.
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