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ECTA AWARD: Submit your Paper by 28 February 2024!
All IP professionals and students are invited to submit an article or essay of importance for the development of the EU intellectual property law. For each category (professional and student) one winner will be selected, who will receive a monetary prize of €1,000 and 18 months of complimentary ECTA membership. The winners will be honoured by ECTA President at the Award ceremony during the ECTA Annual Conference in Antwerp and invited to the Gala Dinner. Furthermore, an interview with the winners will be featured in the October 2024 edition of the ECTA Bulletin, and the winning papers will be showcased on the ECTA website. The winning paper in the student category (only) will also be published in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice by Oxford University Press. Last but not least, award winners interested in attending the ECTA Annual Conference in 2024 and/or in 2025 will receive a 50% reduction on the applicable conference rate. Consult the ECTA Award submission requirements and judging criteria and send your paper to by 28 February 2024. Kindly indicate whether you are participating in the Professional or Student category. All submissions will be judged by the ECTA Professional Affairs and Membership Committee with the support of other Committees and under the supervision of the Board of Directors. The publication of the winning paper in the student category is subject to the final decision of the editors of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. We look forward to receiving your papers!
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EARLY BIRD Registration is Open for the ECTA Annual Conference in Antwerp!
Early bird registration is now open for the 42nd ECTA Annual Conference in Antwerp! REGISTER HERE! ECTA members can attend a reduced fee. If you are not a member, JOIN ECTA before registering for the Conference! Known as the city of diamonds, Antwerp offers a radiant setting for exploring the 'Many Facets of IP'. Secure your spot promptly to take advantage of the best pricing! Watch the video teaser of the Conference! The agenda is rich, covering a wide range of interests and with a focus on sustainability - a key for a better future. Check out the programme here, attendance options and prices here. Early Bird ends on 29 March! We have secured a number of rooms at various hotels close to the Flanders Meeting and Convention Centre Antwerp (FMCCA). For details on hotel options and reservation at ECTA rates and conditions, please refer to the confirmation email received upon registration, but hurry, ECTA rooms are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis! Attendees can expect great learning sessions on the latest IP trends and case law, as well as intensive networking in superb venues: welcome reception at Horta Grand Café (sponsored by: ALTIUS, DLA PIPER, ETHIKOS, GEVERS, INTEO, JANSON, KIRKPATRICK, NOVAGRAAF, WIGGIN), Belgian evening in the FMCCA gardens, and Gala Dinner at Handelsbeurs, the world's first purpose-built commodity exchange building. Antwerp's central location allows easy access for many colleagues as it is seamlessly connected by high-speed train to major cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Cologne - and is just a swift 30-minute train trip to/from Brussels International Airport. We eagerly look forward to welcoming you to Antwerp!
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Conclusions from the meeting of the Circle of European Trade Mark Judges
We are pleased to inform ECTA members of the conclusions from the last meeting of the Circle of European Trade Mark Judges (CET-J), held in Prague on 28-30 September 2023. The CET-J is an independent group of 23 judges from 19 European countries, including the UK, Switzerland, Norway, and Turkey, which meets every year in one of the European capitals to facilitate the exchange of insights and information on significant national rulings that are discussed at European level. The judicature of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is examined with regard to national decisions, evaluated in terms of uniform application and any open questions arising. The collaborative work carried out by the CET-J results in the summary of the most important points of discussion - the Conclusions.
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Register for the ECTA Round Table in Alicante on Evidence before the EUIPO (29 February 2024)
REGISTER for the ECTA Round Table in Alicante ‘All you wanted to know about evidence before the EUIPO: from evidence of use, acquired distinctiveness, and reputation to well-known facts’. 📍 Alicante, 29 February 2024 (16:30-19:30) onsite only! 🟢 Free of charge 🌐 In collaboration with the Commercial Law Department of the University of Alicante and the IP Master Magister Lvcentinvs The event is organised into three insightful panels: 1) What to prove 2) When to prove 3) How to prove, and distinguished speakers from the private practice, industry, EUIPO and EUIPO Boards of Appeal will share their expertise. You can consult the program here. Following the event, please stay for networking during the cocktail reception at the university. Due to limited capacity of the room, registration will close once maximum number is reached. We encourage you to secure your spot promptly!
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EUIPO introduced the new e-Filing RCD form
The Office has recently introduced the new e-Filing Registered Community Design (RCD) form to file a design application. This form will run concurrently with the existing ones for a three-month transition period before replacing them. From 13 April 2024, only two forms will be available: the RCD easy filing and the new RCD advanced form. With this new form, EUIPO intends to bring various benefits, such as improving the user experience, providing a guided filing process, more flexibility with customised configurations, and the possibility to save drafts during the process. To find out more, please read the official news here. For more information on the new RCD form, you can watch this EUIPO webinar.
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ECTA Member’s Voice: The Data Act entered into force
By Paolo Maria Gangi, ECTA AI & Data Committee member, Studio Legale Gangi, Italy The European Union on 27 November 2023, adopted the final text of the Data Act, which has been subsequently published in the EU Official Journal on 22 December 2023 and entered into force yesterday, 11 January 2024 (see official press release here). The Data Act is a comprehensive regulation whose main goal is to create ‘an optimal allocation of data for the benefit of society’ (Recital 2 of the Data Act). The Data Act main provisions are related to the use and sharing of data, both personal (within the meaning of the European privacy legislation, namely the GDPR) as well as non-personal data, produced by users in using ‘connected products’ and ‘related services’ which is to say IoT items. Other sections of the Data Act provide the following: 1) a legal framework for the obligation of sharing, under some specific circumstances, data with public sector bodies; 2) standard contractual terms and legal principles for data access or sharing agreements; 3) protection measures for users who want to switch from a data processing services entity to another; 4) legal rules for enhancing the interoperability, communication and transfer of datasets between different platforms and users. “The Data Act which will become applicable as of 11 September 2025, complements the Data Governance Act, applicable as of September 2023, and is intended to stimulate the data market and to provide legal clarity regarding the use of data.” stated Delia Belciu, ECTA AI & Data Committee Chair, DB Law Office, Romania ----- The views expressed are those of our members and not necessarily of ECTA as an association. The content has not been subjected to a verification process, the accuracy of the information contained in the article is responsibility of the author.
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Register for the ECTA Webinar on Trade Secrets in the EU (in Collaboration with the Bulgarian Patent Office)
REGISTER for the ECTA webinar ‘Got a secret? But how can you keep it? EU Trade Secrets Directive: Implementation status and practical issues in different jurisdictions'. 📅 8 February 2024 (15:00-17:00 CET; 16:00-18:00 EET/Bulgaria time) 🟢 Free of charge 🌐 In collaboration with the Bulgarian Patent Office Our panel will delve into the intricacies of the EU Trade Secrets Directive, exploring its implementation, key issues and leading case law in specific countries: Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria. Moderator: Hans Dhondt (Janson, BE) Speakers: Maria Petkova (Bulgarian Patent Office, BG) Vasil Pavlov (Pavlov & Co, BG) Marie-Christine Seiler (Merx Pütz Rechtsanwälte, DE) Luca Giove (GR Legal, IT)
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ECTA President’s New Year Message and Plans Ahead!
Dear IP colleagues, Happy 2024! First and foremost, I sincerely hope this year will bring collective peace amidst global challenges and conflicts that weigh heavily on all of us, and that a renewed sense of global community is established. May it also bring you joy, good health and prosperity, along with ample moments of cherished ECTA Family time. Reflecting on the successes of 2023, ECTA proudly stands at the forefront of the IP landscape with significant achievements. Committee membership has doubled, recognising the value of our work and the willingness of our members to play a more active role in shaping the world of IP. We have broadened the scope of the ECTA activities to patents, establishing the new ECTA Patent Committee, and embraced AI further under the umbrella of the ECTA AI & Data Committee. From the vibrant Annual Conference in Prague to the dynamic Autumn Meeting in Turin, our well-attended events created long-lasting impressions. In 2023, we actively influenced pivotal legislative IP developments, leaving our mark, among others, on the EU Design and GIs reforms. Productive face-to-face engagements with the European Commission, Council Presidencies, EUIPO, and WIPO not only reinforced our relationship with crucial stakeholders but also resulted in invaluable exchanges. Additionally, we have continued cooperating closely with our European IP sister associations and initiated a meaningful collaboration with ASIPI, broadening the ECTA regional and global presence. Anticipating an exciting 2024, we are gearing up for more noteworthy developments! Keep an eye out for the opening of the early bird registration for our 42nd ECTA Annual Conference “Many Facets of IP” in Antwerp (19-22 June 2024). Also, to help you plan ahead, mark your calendars for other upcoming ECTA events: ECTA Webinar on trade secrets in the EU 8 February 2024, Online in collaboration with the Bulgarian Patent Office ECTA Alicante Round Table on Evidence before the EUIPO 29 February 2024, Alicante, Spain in collaboration with the University of Alicante ECTA ®ETREAT 18 April 2024, The Hague, Netherlands (to be confirmed) ECTA Autumn Meeting (for Supervisory Board and Committee members only) 10-12 October 2024, Seville, Spain I also anticipate knowledge-packed editions of the ECTA Bulletin and would like to remind you that the ECTA Award competition is open until 28 February 2024. More surprises are on the horizon - young professionals and mediation enthusiasts, get ready for some exciting updates! We would be thrilled to welcome you on board this year. Now is the perfect opportunity to become a member of ECTA and enjoy the maximum benefits! Here's to a fantastic 2024! Kind regards, Mladen Vukmir ECTA President
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Important Notice: Disregard Today’s ECTA Notification Sent in Error
Dear ECTA Member, Regarding the ECTA notification you received earlier this morning, please disregard it as it was sent in error by the system. We apologise for this and are currently working with our developers to identify the reasons behind this error. Thank you for your understanding. Sincerely, ECTA
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ECTA Member's Voice: Update on the EU Design Reform
By Roman Brtka, ECTA Design Committee member, Bird & Bird, Germany In the ongoing design law reform process the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on 5 December 2023 to modernise Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs and Directive 98/71/EC on the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 on the legal protection of designs. The design reform aims to make design protection more affordable, faster, and predictable and to address the challenges of 3D printing and digital transformation. For these very reasons, on 28 November 2022, the European Commission published a reform package of measures with two proposals to modernise the EU Design Protection System (i.e. Regulation No 6/2002 and Directive 98/71/EC). The text of the provisional agreement was published on 21 December 2023 and the main elements of the agreement are as follows: New name There will be a change in terminology: The terms Registered Community Design and Unregistered Community Design will be replaced by Registered EU Design and Unregistered EU Design. Scope of protection The definitions of “design” and “product” have been amended in order to cover the digital and 3D printing scenario. The definition of “design” includes items such as “movement, transition or any other sort of animation of those features”. A “product” might be embodied in a physical object, or it can materialise in a digital non-physical form (e.g. spatial arrangements of items like interior or exterior environment and graphic user interfaces). Further, under certain circumstances, a design might also be infringed by creating, downloading, copying and sharing or distributing to others any medium or software recording the design. Repair clause The repair clause will exclude replacement parts for a complex product which are used to restore its original appearance from design protection. The exception only applies to repair purposes and the appearance of the replacement part must be identical to the original part. Consequently, design protection will no longer be conferred to “must-match” spare parts, whose appearance depends on the appearance of the original product. The transitional period for the introduction of the “repair clause” will be eight years. Fees The fees for design protection at EU level are to be increased and they will be higher than for design protection at national level in order to reflect the larger territorial scope of EU-wide design protection. Cultural heritage Under the new laws it will be forbidden to protect cultural heritage elements of national interest (e.g. traditional costumes of a region) as private designs. The term “cultural heritage” is to be defined in line with UNESCO’s definition of “cultural heritage”. Next steps The provisional agreement reached by the Council and the EU Parliament now needs to be endorsed and formally adopted. The new law will probably enter into force in the first half of 2024. Once adopted, the EU Member States will have 36 months to adapt their local laws to the provisions of the new directive. Most adjustments to the Regulation will take effect three months after its entry into force, while some other amendments will have a longer application period of up to 18 months. To find out more, read the press release here.
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2024 promises to be an exciting year at ECTA! To assist you in planning ahead, please make note of the following dates: - ECTA Webinar with Bulgarian Patent Office (Online) - 8 February - ECTA Alicante Round Table with University of Alicante (Alicante, ES) - 29 February - ECTA ®etreat (The Hague, NL) - 18 April (To be confirmed) - ECTA Annual Conference (Antwerp, BE) - 19-22 June - ECTA Autumn Meeting (Seville, ES) - 10-12 October Please note that additional events may be scheduled at a later stage.
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ECTA Member’s Voice: New Nice Trade Mark Classification System as of 1 January 2024
By Tarik Kapić, ECTA WIPO-Link Committee, Patent and Trade Mark Attorney, BOVARD LTD, CH (Assisted by Isabelle Jouret, Trade Mark Professional, BOVARD LTD, CH) On 1 January 2024, the new Nice Trade Mark Classification system will come into force. The 45 classes of preapproved goods and services have been updated with omissions and notable additions. The changes not only seek to align the Nice classification with the evolving landscape of inventions and technological advancements but also mirror societal changes, ecological awareness and the increasing importance of mental health. Here are a select few added terms: Technological Advancements: Augmented reality from entertainment to education and the inclusion of a number of new terms for the trading of cryptocurrency are all notable additions. Societal Changes: Political correctness can be seen with the term “workmen” having been replaced with the word “worker”. The way we interact, learn and entertain is mirrored in terms such as “content moderation for internet chatrooms", “online retail services for downloadable virtual clothing” or “simulated travel services provided in virtual environments for entertainment purposes". Advances in Transportation: The Nice Classification 2024 includes terms that represent the frontier of travel, both within the Earth's atmosphere and beyond with “space transport" and "self-driving cars". Ecological Awareness: As the world grapples with environmental challenges, the Nice Classification system introduces terms such as "production of renewable green energy” or “light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs”. Unique Consumer Goods: The inclusion for example of "jewellery for pets" reflects the changing dynamics of pet ownership and the increasing demand for specialised consumer goods. For further information, please refer to Information Notice No. 35/2023. ----- The views expressed are those of our members and not necessarily of ECTA as an association. The content has not been subjected to a verification process, the accuracy of the information contained in the article is responsibility of the author.
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EU Council adopted the Data Act
This week the EU Council adopted a new regulation on harmonised rules on fair access to and use of data (Data Act). The main objectives of the regulation are to: - ensure fairness in the allocation of value from data among actors in the digital environment - stimulate a competitive data market - open opportunities for data-driven innovation - make data more accessible to all The new regulation will be published in the EU’s official journal in the coming weeks and will enter into force 20 days after this publication. To learn more, please read the official press release here.
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Transition to the mandatory use of electronic Applications for Action (eAFAs)
Right holders and their representatives are invited to submit only electronical applications for action (eAFAs) to customs through the IP Enforcement Portal or national portals in Germany, Italy and Spain. We are now at the end of the transition phase where paper AFAs are still accepted by Member States. In 2024, this phase will end and acceptance of paper AFAs will cease afterwards. The precise date in 2024 will be communicated later, a few months before it becomes mandatory to submit eAFAs. To find out more, please read here.
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EU Regulation on GI protection for craft and industrial products entered into force
The Regulation on GI protection for craft and industrial products entered into force yesterday, twenty days past its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The new Regulation establishes a harmonised framework for the protection of geographical indications for EU craft and industrial products and introduces the opportunity for EU and non-EU countries to obtain a uniform GI protection in the EU. Pursuant to this Regulation, the EUIPO has been designated as the EU competent authority in respect for GIs for craft and industrial products. The examination and registration process will, normally, consist of two phases (standard procedure): 1. Producers will initiate the filing of their GI applications with the Member States’ designated competent authorities for national level assessment. 2. Successful applications will then be forwarded by national authorities for further evaluation and approval by the EUIPO. A direct application procedure to the EUIPO (direct registration procedure) will be available for producers of Member States that obtain from the European Commission a derogation from the obligation to set up a national system. The new system will be applicable from 1 December 2025. From this date onwards, it will be possible to apply for registration of a GI. Existing national rights will cease to exist one year after, on 2 December 2026. For general information on the legal framework concerning GIs and the new system visit the recently published EUIPO GI Hub. To read the official news update, please click here. ----- “The new regulation is a major step towards recognising high quality craft and industrial products manufactured on the basis of their strong link to their geographical origin. Finally, these products will receive the same well-deserved protection as agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines and spirit drinks”, says Andrea Ringle, Chair of the ECTA Geographical Indications Committee. ECTA has contributed regularly with the help of our dedicated Geographical Indications Committee during the public consultations on GI and non-agri GI topics in the recent years. ECTA is also regularly holding GI related events and discussions, including, most recently, the ECTA Alicante Round Table in March 2023 on the GI reform, and a session dedicated to non-agri GIs during the ECTA Annual Conference in Prague in June 2023.
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Apply for the new ECTA Patent Committee by 15 December!
As a result of the discussion held by the ECTA governing bodies at the ECTA Autumn Meeting in Turin, we are excited to announce a significant development in our association's scope of activities. ECTA decided to broaden its horizons into the exciting world of patents and establish the ECTA Patent Committee, chaired by F. Peter Müller (Müller Schupfner & Partner, Germany). This ground breaking decision, from an association traditionally renowned for its expertise in other IPRs, follows recent developments such as the release of the Patent Package by the European Commission and the implementation of the Unitary Patent system. Through this Committee, ECTA aims to become an expert interlocutor for the relevant institutions, with a focus on patent enforcement. For a detailed description and mission of the Patent Committee, please read here. IP colleagues are invited to apply to this Committee if they have expertise in two or more of the following fields: ✔ patent litigation experience ✔ knowledge of the UPC system and/or are entitled to be representatives before the UPC ✔ knowledge of international patent enforcement (e.g. Brussels I Regulation, Lugano Convention, etc.) ✔ knowledge of and experience with SEPs ✔ knowledge of and experience with FRAND ✔ knowledge of and experience with compulsory licenses The Patent Committee is set up as a temporary Committee for the next four years, comprising two terms of two years each, after which the Board of Directors and Supervisory Board will reassess the role of the Committee. If you are not yet an ECTA member but are interested in serving on the Patent Committee, apply first to become an ECTA member here (the subscription fee will cover the rest of 2023 and 2024) and, in parallel, apply for the Patent Committee here by 15 December! We look forward to receiving your candidacy!
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ECTA-ASIPI Webinars in the Data Domain
Don't miss two upcoming webinars in the Data domain, co-organised by ECTA and ASIPI: 1) International Transfer of Data Date: 9 November 2023 Time: 4:00 pm CET Moderator: Jordi Güell (ECTA) 2) Processing of Personal Data by IP Offices: Compared Practices in EUIPO, Spain, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil Register here! Date: 16 November 2023 Time: 4:00 pm CET Moderator: Sebastian Lovera (ASIPI) Both webinars will be conducted in both Spanish and English with simultaneous translation. We are pleased to inform our members that our former Data Committee has expanded its scope to also include AI, and is now known as AI and Data Committee. We would like to express our gratitude to the Committee for their contributions to the organisation of this webinar series in the data domain.
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By Maria Antonella Incardona, ECTA WIPO-Link Committee member, Luppi IP, Italy During its last Assembly, Madrid Union approved significant amendments to the Regulations under the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the international trade mark registration process and ensuring that trade mark holders receive adequate time to respond to provisional refusals from Contracting Parties. According to the new Regulation, Offices of designated Contracting Parties are now required to provide trade mark holders with a minimum period of two months (or 60 consecutive or calendar days) to initiate a request for review, appeal, or response to a provisional refusal. The start and end dates of the time limits must be clearly indicated in the notification of provisional refusal, leading to a substantial improvement in transparency for all users of the Madrid System. In addition, details regarding the applicable time limits for responding to provisional refusals will be published in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks, as Contracting Parties must notify the International Bureau with this information. The amendments to the Regulation came into force on 1 November 2023 and ECTA, which actively advocated for this solution during the WIPO Madrid System WG, is eager to witness their positive effects as soon as possible, although Contracting Parties have until 1 February 2025, to meet the new minimum time limit requirement. To consult the information notice, please click here. ---- ECTA advocated for this solution
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ECTA-WIPO Bilateral Meeting in Geneva
Yesterday, ECTA and WIPO held their Bilateral Meeting at WIPO Headquarters in Geneva to discuss topics of mutual interest and importance, such as, among others: • Most important Madrid, Hague and Lisbon systems’ developments; • WIPO's main developments and plans, particularly in the context of SMEs, technological developments and AI-based tools; • Information about recent developments in the SCT in the run up to the upcoming Diplomatic Conferences; • Update on WIPO strategy to support the fight against counterfeiting and pirated goods and services; • and a number of other practical IP topics. ECTA was represented by Mladen Vukmir (President), Julien Scicluna (Secretary General), Anna Ostanina (Head of Legal Affairs), Bernard Volken (WIPO-Link Committee Chair), Valeria Conidi (WIPO-Link Committee Vice-Chair), Beatrix Breitinger (WIPO-Link Committee Secretary) and Arnaud Lellinger (WIPO-Link Committee Member). We are extremely grateful to WIPO for the warm welcome, the very productive meeting and for the fruitful cooperation and open dialogue we have established over the past years as well as to our expert team for their high level of expertise which is indispensable for the quality of this cooperation and regular exchange.
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EUIPO launched the new Geographical Indication Hub
Following the recent publication of the Regulation on Geographical Indication Protection for Craft and Industrial Products, the EUIPO has launched the new GI Hub. The hub includes everything about GIs, with a particular focus on the new EU scheme for GIs for craft and industrial products. It includes information on specific legislation, news articles or webinars by the Office on the subject, EUIPO’s IT tools to help users search for already existing GIs, as well as a list of FAQs. ---- ECTA has contributed regularly with the help of our dedicated Geographical Indications Committee during the public consultations on GI and non-agri GI topics in the recent years. ECTA is also regularly holding GI related events and discussions, including, most recently, the ECTA Alicante Round Table in March 2023 on the GI reform, and a session dedicated to non-agri GIs during the ECTA Annual Conference in Prague in June 2023.
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