Intellectual Property updates

Argentina

Contributed by Obligado & Cia
New trademark opposition system
  • Argentina
  • May 14 2018

Decree 27/2018 was recently issued with the aim of further reducing and simplifying the regulations of different regimes in order to improve commerce and industry. In the IP sphere, the decree introduced important and substantial changes to the trademark opposition system. As a result, the administrative authority will be empowered to settle disputes concerning oppositions that cannot be resolved between the parties by means of negotiation.

Effect of new decree on industrial property and trademark law
  • Argentina
  • March 12 2018

A recently issued decree aims to further reduce and simplify the regulations of relevant regimes in order to provide an efficient response to requests for the exercise of commerce and the development of industry. Among other things, the decree simplifies the trademark opposition procedure; implements the administrative resolution of oppositions, nullity and cancellation for non-use actions; and requires proof of use for registered trademarks.

Likelihood of confusion of pharmaceutical trademarks
  • Argentina
  • December 18 2017

Argentine law contains no specific rules on the risk of confusion regarding pharmaceutical products and legal commentators and case law provide opposing views of whether common or stricter criteria should be applied. In this context, the most recent legislation and judicial decisions recognise that each particular case should be analysed separately in order to determine which criteria should be applied.

Trademarks and pharmaceutical products – an overview
  • Argentina
  • October 23 2017

The pharmaceutical industry is a regulated activity in the sense that medicaments require government authorisation in order to be commercialised. As a result, registering a trademark with the Trademark Office is insufficient to guarantee its use on a pharmaceutical product, as the name of the medicament must be accepted by the Health Authority at the time of issuance of the required marketing and sales authorisation.

Domain name and trademark dispute resolutions
  • Argentina
  • May 15 2017

The Internet's introduction, boom and speed of development has resulted in many conflicts and abuses, including the registration of domain names featuring the unauthorised use of a trademark owned by a third party. Argentina has not yet issued a substantive ruling referring to disputes between domain names and trademarks. Until 2009, the interested parties in a conflict had to seek remedy in court due to the non-existence of an alternative dispute resolution system.


Austria

Contributed by Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Marketability is key: if a work can be separated it is not a joint work
  • Austria
  • January 08 2018

In a welcome development of Austrian copyright law, the Supreme Court recently ruled that a combination of works by two artists does not constitute a joint work if it can be separated, even if the works involved were created for the sole purpose of being combined as a jointly planned contribution. Strong indicators of whether parts of a work are separable are the individual marketability and possible depreciation of the separated parts.

Introduction of certification marks and other amendments to Trademark Law
  • Austria
  • November 20 2017

Parliament recently transposed parts of EU Directive 2015/2436 into national law. Most important is the introduction of certification marks, which did not previously exist under Austrian law. Other provisions of the bill concern the division of trademark applications, the shortening of the validity period of a registration and the reduction of the registration fee.

Age of technology – metadata is sufficient to retain author's right of attribution
  • Austria
  • July 17 2017

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the producer of a photograph who marks his or her name in the photograph's metadata must be credited as the producer on copies of the photograph made by other persons and intended for distribution. This judgment is good news for producers of digital photographs who wish to safeguard their copyright. Persons reproducing and distributing digital photographs should routinely check the metadata to ensure that the producer's name is listed on any reproduction.

Different panels, different opinions – different decisions
  • Austria
  • February 20 2017

The Supreme Court recently confirmed its view that the issuance of contradicting decisions in, on the one hand, infringement proceedings and, on the other hand, opposition proceedings by different panels of the same appellate court is no reason to admit an extraordinary appeal to the Supreme Court. The decision stresses that, in principle, the appellate courts must consider the issue of likelihood of confusion, and that it will step in only if the appealing party can demonstrate gross misjudgment.

Copyright owners beware! Supreme Court judgment defines author's distribution rights anew
  • Austria
  • September 19 2016

In light of a European Court of Justice ruling, the Supreme Court recently overturned its earlier interpretation of an author's exclusive distribution right in relation to his or her work of art. The court found that any kind of distribution – regardless of whether it is a transfer of ownership – falls under the author's exclusive distribution right. Further, it held that this distribution right is violated only if ownership in the work is actually transferred.


Belgium

Contributed by ALTIUS
Parallel import of medicinal products
  • Belgium
  • November 06 2017

Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) recently sued PI Pharma before the Brussels Commercial Court for the parallel import and repackaging of one of MSD's medicinal products. MSD based its claim on the alleged violation of the first, third and fourth Bristol-Myers Squibb conditions. Although this is not the first time that the Brussels Commercial Court has been involved in a dispute over the parallel importation of medicinal products, the judgment further refines the scope of certain Bristol-Myers Squibb conditions.

Court issues decision on parallel importation of debranded Mitsubishi forklift trucks
  • Belgium
  • April 10 2017

In a recent judgment, the Brussels Court of Appeal ordered two parallel traders to pay provisional compensation of €3 million to the Mitsubishi Corporation for illegally importing hundreds of Mitsubishi forklift trucks which had been on the Asian market into the European Economic Area via parallel trade routes. The court held that the parallel traders had failed to provide conclusive evidence that Mitsubishi, the proprietor of the Benelux and EU trademarks, had consented to the parallel trade.

Court rules on use of competitor's trademark as AdWord
  • Belgium
  • May 02 2016

The Mons Court of Appeal recently issued a judgment in a dispute between Verabel, holder of a complex trademark, and Verandas Confort, which used the word VERABEL as a Google AdWord. The court found that the AdWord VERABEL created likelihood of confusion between the goods concerned and infringed the trademark's function of origin. As a result, Veranda Confort was ordered to cease using the AdWord.

Supreme Court defines online patent-infringing offer
  • Belgium
  • April 04 2016

The Supreme Court recently issued a judgment in a dispute between a European patent holder and Swiss-based medical and dental equipment manufacturer Nouvag. The court confirmed that Nouvag had failed to comply with an order not to offer an infringing product in Belgium, as the product was presented on its website as being available throughout Europe. The judgment provides clarity on 'offering' as an act of patent infringement in Belgium.

Potpourri I: patents and suspensive effect of appeals
  • Belgium
  • January 25 2016

The Potpourri I reform of civil procedure has made the suspensive effect of an appeal the exception rather than the rule. This could change the stakes of first-instance patent revocation cases. A literal reading of the relevant provisions suggests that, as a rule, a first-instance judgment revoking a patent is now enforceable pending an appeal. It thus makes sense to request the first-instance court to exclude the provisional enforcement of patent invalidity decisions.


Canada

Contributed by Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh
New patent term extension framework
  • Canada
  • May 28 2018

The amendments to the Patent Act and the enactment of the Certificate of Supplementary Protection (CSP) Regulations flowing from the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement introduced a new framework in Canada for the issuance of CSPs. CSPs provide an additional patent-like protection term and are intended to partly compensate innovators for the time required to research and obtain regulatory approval in Canada.

Apotex fails to establish that it would have obtained non-infringing product from foreign suppliers
  • Canada
  • May 28 2018

Servier and its related company ADIR were recently successful in another chapter of the patent litigation concerning perindopril when the Federal Court again dismissed the non-infringing alternative defence of Apotex Inc and Apotex Pharmachem Inc (collectively, Apotex). The court found that Apotex would not have called on foreign third parties to manufacture perindopril to supply its affiliates in the United Kingdom and Australia and thus reaffirmed the quantum of profits from its original judgment.

Federal Court grants motion to strike plaintiff's quia timet pleading in oxycodone infringement action
  • Canada
  • May 21 2018

In a recent case, the Federal Court granted the plaintiff's motion to strike a rival pharmaceutical company's statement of claim for infringement of a patent relating to oxycodone salt. The court overturned the prothonotary's dismissal of the motion, finding that the facts alleged nothing beyond the regulatory use exemption and that the imminence branch of the test for a quia timet action had not been met.

Colour it mine: protecting colour trademarks
  • Canada
  • May 21 2018

A number of changes will soon be made to Canadian trademark law, which will make it possible to protect a colour per se as a trademark (as opposed to a colour applied to a product with a particular shape). Rights holders seeking to protect colours as trademarks in Canada may therefore benefit from the new regime. However, overcoming objections based on functionality or establishing distinctiveness may present significant new hurdles to the registration of such marks.

Federal Court declares invalid patent for medical device measuring osmolarity of tear film
  • Canada
  • May 14 2018

The Federal Court recently found certain claims of a patent relating to a chip for measuring the osmolarity of a sample of bodily fluid, including tear film, invalid on the basis of obviousness and anticipation. The court agreed with the claim construction urged by the plaintiffs, finding that the claims encompassed both in vivo and ex vivo applications of the invention. Thus, the defendant's competing medical device – which measured osmolarity in vivo – fell within the scope of the claims.


Cayman Islands

New Cayman Islands IP regime
  • Cayman Islands
  • September 11 2017

The Trademarks Law 2016, the Patents and Trademarks (Amendment) Law 2016 and the Design Rights Registration Law 2016 recently came into force, introducing a new IP regime in the Cayman Islands. The legislation establishes a standalone trademark registration system, prohibits the assertion of patent infringement in bad faith and allows existing UK and EU-registered design rights to be extended to the Cayman Islands, among other things.