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Communications with WIPO International Bureau: Requirement to indicate an e-mail address
As of 1 February 2023, amendments to Section 11 of the Administrative Instructions for the Application of the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks will enter into force. Applicants and holders will be required to communicate with the WIPO International Bureau by electronic means. If not already done, they should provide an e-mail address as a matter of urgency by presenting an online request here using the Change in Holder Details or the Management of Representative tools. For further information, please refer to Information Notice No. 19/2022.
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Register for the ECTA 40th Annual Conference
ECTA President Anette Rasmussen invites all IP colleagues to beautiful Copenhagen for the ECTA 40th Annual Conference 'Designing the Future' (15-18 June 2022)! Watch the Video! REGISTER HERE! We look forward to bringing back this edition at full-speed and in the usual format, including some upgraded features! We kick-off on 8 June with two online workshops as part of the Conference package and continue on 15 June with Committee meetings (by invitation only) and 16-17 June with Conference sessions. You may expect great speakers, informative sessions on the latest IP trends. Mladen Vukmir, ECTA First Vice-President in charge of the Conference academic program, walks you through this year’s educational offer. Watch the Video! . The ECTA Annual Conference is not only educational sessions, but also networking, entertainment…and fun! Watch the video by Frank Jørgensen (ECTA Local Organising Committee, Denmark) to find out about this year’s gatherings in the coolest settings. Join us for the welcome reception at the Langelinie Pavillonen, a taste of Danish cuisine at the Royal Playhouse, the Gala Dinner with show at Wallmans and Saturday excursions with ECTA friends in and around Copenhagen. New to the Conference format is the first-time attendee gathering and in-house counsel breakfast (both by invitation only). Full programme here Get ready for another extraordinary ECTA Conference!
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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 10 May, 10:00-11:00 (CET): The good and bad side of drugs: accepted principles of morality under Article 7(1)(f) EUTMR - Intermediate Tuesday 24 May, 10:00-11:30 (CET): Misleading invoices: How Europol and EUIPO fight crime? - Basic After this webinar, you will have up-to-date, first-hand crime prevention information on the EUIPO's and Europol's efforts in combating misleading invoices. Visit the Academy's Calendar to access the webinars and see the latest updates for the upcoming months. For further information about the EUIPO Academy's learning offer please visit the Academy's Learning Portal.
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WIPO recently launched the eMadrid, a new digital gateway that provides users with secure self-service access to all the Madrid System online services and tools to manage international trade mark registrations. The platform can be accessed via the MENU of the WIPO IP Portal, selecting ‘Trademarks > File & Manage’. The launch of the eMadrid gateway is the first in an array of upcoming improvements that will ensure better user experience. Note: While the eMadrid gateway is new, WIPO has not changed the functionality of the actual services that users are already using to manage their portfolio.
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EUIPO Observatory and CPVO – Impact of the Community Plant Variety Rights system on the EU economy and environment
Today, the EUIPO Observatory in collaboration with the Community Plant Varity Office (CPVO) released a study on the Impact of the Community Plant Variety Rights system on the EU economy and the environment. This document quantifies the economic contribution in the EU of the CPVR system, considering specific aspects of agriculture and horticulture, such as the contribution of the system to the global competitiveness of EU farmers and growers. Besides, it also quantifies the benefits to the environment and sustainability derived from the system. To read the full study, please click here.
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CJEU - Broadcast by streaming of hearings, judgments and opinions as of 26 April
As of today, the CJEU will offer a streaming service to facilitate the public’s access to its judicial activity. In particular, the delivery of CJEU judgments and the reading of Advocate General opinions in cases assigned to the Grand Chamber will be broadcast live on its website. The hearings will also be the subject of a later broadcast for a pilot period of 6 months - Morning hearings will be available the same day from 14.30 pm, afternoon hearings the following day from 9.30 am, but it will not be possible to consult them subsequently. Viewers will benefit from the simultaneous interpretation of the pleadings in the languages necessary for the proper conduct of the hearing.
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HAPPY WORLD IP DAY! ECTA membership fee: 50% reduction for under 35
Happy World IP Day! This year’s theme focuses on ‘IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future’ to celebrate how innovative, energetic, and creative young minds are driving positive change. ECTA also recognises the importance of new generations of IP professionals to tackle the challenges of tomorrow and offers a 50% reduction on the applicable ECTA membership fee to practitioners under the age of 35, who have never been a member before. This offer is only valid for those who submit a fully completed application form by the end of tomorrow, 27 April 2022! *Kindly note that late applicants cannot benefit from this opportunity. Don’t forget that members can attend the ECTA 40th Annual Conference ‘Designing the Future’ in Copenhagen (15-18 June 2022) at a reduced fee. New to this year’s format are sessions tailored for young professionals and first-time attendee reception to get introduced to the Association. Share this opportunity with young colleagues of your team or friends from the IP Community!
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On 13 April 2022, the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Protection of Interests of Persons in the Sphere of Intellectual Property during Martial Law, Imposed in Connection with the Armed Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine’ entered into force. According to this law the terms related to acquisition and protection of IPRs are suspended during martial law in Ukraine, including the deadlines for the following actions: • filing an objection (opposition) against Ukrainian trade mark applications and Madrid System registrations; • challenging decisions of the Ukrainian IPO in court or before the Appeal Chamber of the IPO; • renewals/reinstatements of IPRs; • administrative invalidation procedures for patented inventions. The respective terms will be resumed as from the day following the date of repeal or suspension of the martial law. Moreover, in case annuity/renewal fees are due during the martial law, such fees can be paid within 90 days after the martial law is repealed. Also, when individuals and legal entities submit documents (applications, requests, oppositions, responses, etc.), they can do so not later than 90 days after the martial law is repealed without any need to pay official fees for renewal, reinstatement, or extension of the relevant deadlines stipulated by the IP laws and the schedule of official fees. The rules of suspension of terms provided by this Law do not entail the suspension of registration certificates, patents or of the relevant intellectual property rights. The Law has a retroactive effect and applies as of 24 February 2022.
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ECTA Member’s Voice: The European Commission releases its long-awaited proposal for a regulation on EU geographical indications for wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products
By Benjamin Fontaine, ECTA Geographical Indications Committee Member, EUIPO-Link Committee Chair, E.G.Y.P. (ES) At last, the Commission has published its proposal for the revision of the EU legal framework on geographical indications. For the very first time, the Commission intends to merge the basic rules on GIs in a single regulation. This is a major evolution which will certainly benefit the accessibility and understanding of EU law for all stakeholders. Common rules will apply to GIs in the fields of wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products. However, each of these categories will maintain its specificities on many aspects, through specific regulations. Surprisingly, the future scheme of geographical indications for non-agri GIs is left out of this common approach. On the substance, the proposal of the Commission acknowledges that overall the system has proved successful and solely requires some improvements or updates. These modifications include an express recognition of the exclusive and unitary characters of the GI system in the EU, a common definition of ‘geographical indications’, which includes all the designations of origin and geographical indications of the current schemes. The protection of GIs is slightly modified, the practical impact should not be significant: the Commission maintains the structure of cascade with four layers of protection. The first layer, which prevents the direct use of a GI, is modified substantially with a much wider protection against the exploitation, weakening, dilution or detriment to the reputation of GIs. The second layer of protection, which includes the concept of ‘evocation’ which is the backbone of GI protection today, is left unaltered. However, and quite unexpectedly, the Commission has introduced a definition of this concept which introduces – at least partially – the case law of the Court of Justice. Reference is made to a ‘direct and clear’ link (the Court of Justice had introduced the notion of ‘clear and univocal link’), and also to the harm caused to the reputation of the earlier GI. This duality of references to the reputation of GIs raises questions, this point will have to be analyzed thoroughly. The Commission proposes also to prevent the cybersquatting of domain names and requires that Member States introduce alternative dispute mechanisms that would allow the transfer of domain names registered or used in bad faith to the detriment of a GI. Also new are the proposals of the Commission regarding the protection of GIs within e-commerce or for goods-in-transit. Another important innovation is the attempt of the Commission to clarify the situation of GIs when used as ingredients in prepared foodstuff. The Commission wishes to make it clear that GIs can be mentioned as ingredients in accordance with fair and honest practices, but not directly as the food name. The relationship with trade marks is reviewed insofar the Commission foresees the refusal or cancellation of trade marks the use of which would be prohibited in accordance with the protection granted to GIs. This is a huge modification of the current landscape, which will also have to be reviewed in detail. By expanding fully the scope of refusal ex officio, on absolute grounds, the Commission interferes with the traditional division between absolute grounds and relative grounds for the enforcement of GIs. Also, the Commission wants to solve the difficult issue of the protection of GIs as trade marks: its proposal contains a provision whereby the registration of GIs as certification marks or collective marks should be permitted, with a logo. Again, this provision is interesting but will to be reviewed with care. Finally, the Commission wishes to grant more power and responsibilities to two stakeholders: the producer groups on the one side, and the EUIPO on the other side. Regarding the EUIPO, which involvement has raised concerns among lobbies, the Commission wishes to involve it in particular in the examination of applications originating in third countries. ECTA, through its Geographical Indications Committee, will of course scrutinize this proposal with care and provide its comments. ---- 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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EUIPO Boards of Appeal: case-law research reports
The EUIPO Boards of Appeal (BoA) Consistency Circles recently published the following case-law reports: - Trade marks contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality - The distinctive character of slogans The Consistency Circles analyse case-law, to identify trends and develop a common understanding on relevant legal issues. The purpose is to enhance the predictability of decisions as well as increase knowledge and transparency among BoA stakeholders. These reports are a compilation of the existing case-law from the General Court, the Court of Justice, and the Boards of Appeal, and reflect discussions within the BoA Consistency Circles and the General Consistency Meeting of the BoA at the date of the report. They should not be considered as having any binding effect on the BoA.
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Register for the ECTA ®ETREAT (Milan, 7 April 2022)
REGISTRATION for the ECTA ®etreat in Milan is now open! ECTA Members and colleagues from the same firm of an ECTA Member can attend at a reduced fee! For the first time, the ®etreat will be a full-day event with lunch break. You may expect great IP experts and engaging discussions! 7 APRIL 2022 (MILAN, 9.30-16.30 CET) 'THE NEVER-ENDING CHALLENGE OF SHAPE PROTECTION: DESIGN, TRADE MARK AND COPYRIGHT' Morning session – How are national jurisdictions implementing Cofemel? The Cofemel judgment of the Court of Justice leaves much room for interpretation. Will copyright become the ultimate solution for the protection of shapes? With our experts we will try to better understand how the decision has been implemented in the jurisdictions of the Member States and whether it has had the revolutionary impact that some jurists have attributed to it. Afternoon session – How do shape marks survive invalidity actions? Shape marks continue to constitute crucial IP assets and, at the same time, they are subject to a growing number of invalidity actions, especially when enforced. In the light of the recent case law, what defensive arguments can be brought forward by the right owners? What kind of evidence increases the chances of success? How can trade mark owners limit their exposure? Our panel will explore these and other strategies that can be adopted to reduce the marks’ vulnerability. Consult the programme including the panel of speakers here. On request, attendees will receive a certificate of attendance to approach the respective national Bar Association with respect to CLE credits, if applicable. The event is accredited by the Ordine degli Avvocati di Milano - 3 CLE credits and the Ordine dei Consulenti in Proprietà Industriale - 5 CLE credits. We are looking forward to welcoming many colleagues from Italy and beyond!
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The March Bulletin is out!
Many interesting updates in IP are waiting for you in the March edition of the ECTA Bulletin! There is an in-depth insight at piracy, comparing fashion law and practice in the U.S. and Europe, the U.S. Trademark Modernization Act and news from the UK on the exhaustion of rights. You will learn about case law involving Monopoly, registration of colour marks in Ukraine and Irish GIs, as well as get to know our new ECTA members and Award winners. You will also find an interesting interview with Austrian professors Clemens Appl and Philipp Homar and review of the book The Transformation of EU GIs Law. Last but not least, some photos from the latest ECTA Conference in Vienna to prepare yourself for the upcoming one in Copenhagen (15-18 June 2022) - Early Bird Registration is open!
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You can now watch the RECORDING (74 min) of the ECTA and BMM Joint Webinar, held on 9 December 2021 within the framework of the EUIPO TMD webinar series. Speakers from both Associations, Delia Belciu (ECTA), Mara Mondolfo (ECTA), Carina Gommers (BMM), Lenneke van Gaal (BMM) discussed what has changed in the trade mark opposition procedure as well as in the cancellation, invalidity, revocation procedure from the Benelux, Romania, Italy and other EU jurisdictions’ perspectives. You will also be able to download the documentation projected during the webinar.
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OECD-EUIPO Study on Dangerous Fakes Trade in Counterfeit Goods
OECD and EUIPO have just released a joint study presenting detailed information on the value of illicit trade in fake goods that can pose health risks (e.g. fake pharmaceuticals or food products), safety risks (e.g. counterfeit automotive spare parts, fake batteries) and environmental risks (e.g. fake chemicals or pesticides). The report analyses data from customs seizures and other enforcement data and looks at how dangerous counterfeits can end up in the hands of consumers. Among the findings, online sales represent 60 % of seizures of dangerous products destined to the EU, while China and Hong Kong account for 75 % of dangerous fakes seized. Also, COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated existing trends and authorities reported a sharp increase in seizures of fake medicines, test kits and personal protective equipment as well as other medical products. To read the full study please click here.
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Russian Government: proposal to suspend IPRs of foreign companies
The Russian Ministry of Economic Development has announced that it is considering ‘lifting restrictions on the use of intellectual property contained in certain goods’ that cannot be imported due to sanctions or are no longer sold in Russia because of brands boycotts. Goods (or group of goods) involved will be decided by the Russian Government in the coming days. The proposal implies that Russian companies may use foreign IP – trade marks, design, copyright and patents – to minimise the effect of western sanctions against Russia, creating a basis for the sale of counterfeit products. ECTA will continue to monitor the situation and will keep its members informed of any developments.
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The study is meant to be a practical and practitioner-oriented tool to demonstrate existing or potential misuse of AI technologies to infringe dcopyright (and related rights) and designs, as well as the use of AI to enforce these same rights. According to the report, the multifaceted AI applications offer numerous opportunities, drivers, limitations and concerns for the misuse of AI in the infringement of copyright and designs while, at the same time, offering opportunities for the legal use of AI in their enforcement. To read the full study, please click here.
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ECTA message of solidarity and support for Ukraine
ECTA continues to follow the developments in Ukraine with disbelief and great concern. We wish to reiterate our solidarity and support to our Ukrainian members, their families and the Ukrainian population during the ongoing aggression Ukraine is facing. ECTA believes strongly in freedom and democracy. ECTA has offered its Ukrainian members free membership for 2022 and the ECTA Supervisory Board has agreed to make an unprecedented donation of 5000 EUR to the International Red Cross for the support of the Ukrainian people. ECTA earnestly hopes for a peaceful solution and encourages our members to also support the Ukrainian people actively.
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Observatory Study - Online advertising on IPR-Infringing Websites and Apps 2021
This study looks at online advertising found on IPR infringing websites and mobile apps during 2021, evaluates the estimated amount and type of such advertising, and estimates the related ad revenues. The worldwide revenue generated by the monitored websites is estimated at EUR 912.7 million, while the worldwide revenue generated by the monitored apps is EUR 57.1 million. These figures underline that websites and apps that infringe IPR do not only derive revenue from their infringing activities, but also from advertising by legitimate brands placed on such platforms unwittingly, which is partly a result of the complex internet advertising ecosystem. To read the full study, please click here.
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As a European based and rooted association, ECTA is deeply concerned that war is now again on the European continent. Working with IP rights as tools for innovative and peaceful development of societies, ECTA believes strongly in dialogue and democracy and sees mutual commerce and peaceful cooperation as cornerstones to the benefit of all people. ECTA offers its solidarity to the population in Ukraine and other war zones and support to its members in affected countries. ECTA hopes for a de-escalation of the present conflict and an earnest search for a peaceful solution via dialogue and diplomacy.
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ECTA AWARD 2022 - Last days to submit your paper!
Don't forget about the opportunity to submit your paper for the ECTA Award 2022, a competition for all IP professionals and IP students from Europe and beyond. Article or essay of importance for the development of European trade mark, design, copyright or geographical indications law can be submitted to the ECTA Award competition. The winners of the ECTA Award will receive the following prizes: a sum of EUR 2.000 for the First Prize in the student category, EUR 3.000 for the First Prize in the professional category and EUR 1.000 and EUR 500 respectively for the Second and Third prizes in both categories. All winners will be granted 18 months of ECTA Membership and their paper will be published on the ECTA website. If you are interested, please consult the ECTA Award submission requirements and judging criteria and send your paper to by 1 March 2022. All submissions will be judged by the ECTA Professional Affairs Committee with the support of other Committees and supervision of the Board of Directors. We are looking forward to receiving your papers!
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