Consideration of settlement of disputes between the EC and national trade marks have to be initiated
29 January, 2008
The EC member states when settling disputes regarding trade marks and design samples have to develop a unified court practice, especially in disputes between the EC trade marks and the national ones. The court practice of the European Community in settlement of similar disputes has to be taken as the basis. That was the guideline in the closing seminar organized by the Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market which took place in the Spanish city Alicante on January 22 – 23. The seminar was attended by the judge Vanda Cīrule of the Chamber of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court.
The legislation of the member states in the field of protection of intellectual property is harmonized in accordance with the laws of the European Community. A unified court practice in reviewing such cases has to be developed, as well. The necessity of specialization in reviewing cases related to trade marks and design samples was especially stressed. Obviously, Latvia also has to start to consider it, V. Cīrule stresses after returning from the seminar.
In this field, the practice of the member states differs. In major countries, for example, Germany, separate courts have been established, in other countries, like Denmark, these disputes are reviewed by commercial courts. In Italy, a panel of twelve judges has been established which is located in five major cities of the country. In Poland, the Court of trade marks and design samples of the Community has been established in Warsaw which reviews cases between the trade marks of the Community and the national ones.
Taking into account the rather small number of such cases in Latvia at the present time, it would be purposeful to establish a small panel of specialized judges both in the first instance court what is the Riga Regional Court, and the Supreme Court. Thus, a unified court practice in reviewing cases regarding trade marks and design samples could be ensured.
The first seminar for judges of the member states organized by the Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market of the European Community was held in the period from October 2006 and September 2007 and was organized in seven regional seminars depending on the language and geographical location zones. In the group of the Baltic countries and the Scandinavian countries in Copenhagen, 38 judges from Denmark, Latvia, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and Lithuania took part.
Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market of the European Community (OHIM) based in Spain, registers the trade marks and design samples of the Community. A trade mark of the Community allows a manufacturer or a service provider to protect its product both in the entire territory of the European Community and separate member states upon choice, and to protect it from being copied in the EC territory, as well. National trade marks continue to exist together with the trade marks of the Community. To promote a unified practice in reviewing cases related to the registration of trade marks and settlement of disputes between the trade marks of the Community and the national trade marks, the Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market of the European Community organizes regular seminars and training.
Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Manager of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
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