The MARQUES 30th Annual conference was a fantastic event this year, held in the wonderful surroundings of Alicante. A perfect sunny location to catch up with friends, meet clients and make new connections. The main theme of the 4 day event was "BRANDS versus TRADEMARKS, TRADEMARKS versus BRANDS."
The scheduled sessions addressed different aspects of this question, focusing on the legal issues and challenges of 'brands vs trademarks' as well as additional discussions on litigating in Europe, Geographical Indications, updates on EUIPO, WIPO and European CEU Case Law. Some of the tweets below give you an insight into what went on at the marques conference.
Breaking news: "The @MarquesIP family is growing" - new Copyright Team & annual Leadership Meeting announced by chair Uwe Over AND #Marques16 is now officially a tie-less conference!@MarquesIP @EU_IPO 👔❌
🕶✔️ pic.twitter.com/WZhuUdjfNO — Managing IP (@ManagingIP) September 21, 2016
Chairman Uwe Over announced 2 exciting developments as part of the opening ceremony, first that a new copyright team has been created and there will now be an annual leadership meeting. Immediately after this the main theme of the event was discussed, one of the highlights was Antony Douglass 'Global Lead Counsel - IP, Marketing, Data Privacy and Digital Strategy' of Specsavers speaking about their recent trademark
Thereafter european trade mark law was the topic of focus; following the implementation of the EU trade mark reform package, this session summarised and reviewed the impact of recent changes and assessed those still to come. Speakers looked ahead at the consequences for trademark owners as a result of the United Kingdom leaving the EU and the EUTM system.
6 Long term questions counsel should consider regarding BREXIT; (1) Are EUTM's vunerable for non-use? (2) Attorneys need to review settlement, license and co-existence agreements (3) Evidence of use (4) Enforcement? (5) Interpretation of trade mark law (6) Exhaustion of Rights
In total about 11,000 EUTMR article 28(8) declarations have been filed so far. Current rate about 1,000 per day.
"If you have use of your trade mark in one EU country it should safeguard you in the whole of the EU" Shane Smyth of FR Kelly @MarquesIP
"Post Brexit, don't panic. Nothing has been decided. UK filings were up 33 per cent in August 2016". Kate Swain— HSM IP (@HSMIP) September 21, 2016
The afternoon session centered on 'Geographical Indication', the managing director of OriGin (The Global Alliance of Geographical Indications) reviewed the latest initiatives and considered whether GIs & TMs can peacefully co-exist. Followed by a WIPO update about the continuing expansion of the Madrid System; "there's an expected 10% year-on-year increase in Madrid international trademark filings this year" stated Debbie Rønning (Director, Madrid Registry).
The following day after an very enjoyable evening where we experienced everything Spanish at the cultural reception, Christina Duch (Baker McKenzie) opened the day's first session 'Litigating in Europe' where the speakers shared practical tips and case studies on litigating EU trade marks before the EUIPO, General Court and CJEU. One poignant reflection was that very few GC or CJEU judges have particular trademark knowledge, even though these cases make up 33% and 6% of their workloads respectively.
Success rate in EUIPO appeals is only 20% (10% in ex parte cases)
The second session of the morning was an update on the latest EU design developments, chaired by Sebastian Fischoeder (Bird & Bird), speakers explored design rights and the case laws on registered Community designs.
There were 4 different afternoon workshops planned; one was 'rebranding' which examined case studies on Google, Mars & Gap. There was 'The european observatory & the enforcement database' organised by the MARQUES Anti-Counterfeiting and Parallel Trade Team, 'Mediation' and 'Classification and Searching tools - visions of of the future'. After a full day of 'Trademarks v Brands, Brands v Trademarks' everyone was ready to enjoy the drinks reception and gala dinner.
The last day began with an interesting and moving discussion on Indigeneous Intellectual property rights, "Indigenous communities have waited hundreds of years" commented Marion Heathcote (Davies Collinson Cave). In the final session Paul Maeyaert (Altius) spoke about the most significant trade mark cases from the CJEU.
Thanks to everyone for making it another great annual conference, it was a treat yet again to be part of such a special event. We can't wait to see you next year.