On September 27 and 28, the 5th European symposium of judges specializing in reviewing disputes on trade marks and design samples took place in the Spanish city Alicante, which was organized by the Internal Market Harmonization Bureau of EC. Latvia was represented in it by the judge Vanda Cīrule from the Chamber of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court, the Riga Regional Court judge Skaidrīte Buivide, and the EC Court justice Egils Levits.

The main theme of this symposium was basic approaches on declining registration of a trade mark or a design sample what serves as grounds to civil disputes and court proceedings in the EC Court. EC Court adjudications in disputes regarding trade marks were analyzed. Representatives of the member states studied the possibilities to request previous rulings in the EC Court in cases when in a specific dispute local legislation is in contradiction with the EU law standards. A representative from Italy spoke on the latest technical possibilities for filing applications for registration of trade marks or design samples. As the only Internal Market Harmonization Bureau of EC is located in Spain, and it deals with the registration of trade marks and design samples of all the EU states, the member states may file applications both electronically, by e-mail, and by fax.

When accepting an application on registration of a trade mark or design sample for reviewing, the decision is passed within two years. In case a trade mark or design sample is registered, it refers to all the EU member states. To facilitate uniform court practice for reviewing cases regarding registration of trade marks the Internal Market Harmonization Bureau of EC organizes regularly seminars and training. Once in two years a symposium is organized for judges where two judges from each EU member state specializing in reviewing disputes on trade marks are invited.

Practice proves that the number of disputes regarding registration of trade marks and design samples increases with every year – in 2005, the EC Court reviewed 98 disputes, in 2006 – 141, and already 106 – this year.