The Argentine Executive Power recently issued Decree 27/2018, which has introduced significant and substantial amendments to the Law on Trademarks, the Law on Patents and the Industrial Model and Design Decree 6,673/63. The most important amendments include a simpler registration process, an expansion of the facts that do not destroy novelty and adjustments to renewal and grace periods.
The government recently issued a decree which introduced substantial changes to the trademark opposition system, empowering the National Institute of Industrial Property to settle disputes concerning oppositions that parties cannot resolve through negotiation. The changes include the establishment of a three-month term to obtain oppositions and a 40-day evidence period.
The Health Authority examines all relevant information to decide whether to authorise a product's introduction to the market, including its trademark or product name. In this regard, the Health Authority considers potential health risks that could occur in the event of confusion and error as regards trademarks or product names and how such confusion could affect physicians, pharmacists and consumers.
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.
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.
The Supreme Court recently set out clear principles regarding the protection of a work of visual art under the Copyright Act where technical functions played a role. In its decision, the court explained that the assessment as to whether a (visual) piece of work is actually protected by copyright must be assessed by the court as a legal issue only. There is no room to consider the opinion of experts or any other third parties.
The Supreme Court recently clarified the circumstances in which the burden of proof regarding the exhaustion of trademark rights shifts from the defendant to the trademark owner. It made clear that unless the defendant can prove a concrete risk of partitioning markets, it is up to the defendant to prove that the trademark rights relied on by the plaintiff are exhausted. This should be borne in mind when raising this defence.
The Supreme Court recently affirmed once more that the exemptions to the principle of exhaustion of trademark rights must be construed narrowly. In its decision, the court made clear that once trademark rights are exhausted, resellers may use not only word marks, but also figurative marks without any limitations when advertising or reselling original products.
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.
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.
In a high-profile trademark infringement case involving Moët Hennessey Champagne Services and a Belgian painter, the courts were asked to strike a balance between the right to property, including intellectual property, and artistic freedom of expression. The decision is expected to set an important precedent on how to strike a fair balance between freedom of speech and the protection of trademarks when these two concepts conflict.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Budget Implementation Act 2018, which recently received royal assent, introduced important changes to the Patent Act that will affect the scope of protection available under Canadian patents. Effective immediately, the amendments concern licensing commitments in respect of standard-essential patents, prosecution histories in claim construction, the experimental use of patented inventions, the scope of prior user rights and written demand requirements.
The government recently released its proposed new Patent Rules in the Canada Gazette. This is one of the last steps necessary for implementing the significant changes to Canada's patent law which are expected to come into force in 2019. Many of the changes intend to implement the Patent Law Treaty and help to minimise the risk of loss of rights, while others will reduce the rights of patent applicants and patentees.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently overturned a motion judge's decision denying Sanofi and Schering leave to amend their defences to plead the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in AstraZeneca Canada Inc v Apotex Inc. The present action is one of several novel claims by Apotex seeking damages pursuant to the Ontario Statute of Monopolies and the UK Statute of Monopolies.
A Federal Court order has issued on a motion to strike that was brought by Sandoz in four actions relating to the infringement of rituximab patents. The court declined to strike out the claims for damages and an accounting of profits on the basis that, at law, such remedies are unavailable in such an action. The court's treatment of the novel claims by Roche may be of interest to litigants under the current scheme of the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations.
Section 22 of the Trademarks Act, depreciation of a registered trademark's goodwill, is a potentially powerful yet generally underused weapon for dealing with damaging comparative advertising campaigns. Dilution-type claims to prevent comparative ads displaying a registered trademark are particularly complex as they require that the advertising actually 'use' the registered mark within the meaning of the Trademarks Act.
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.