Articles & Case Notes:
AIPPI National and Regional News:
By Xiangong Meng, Zunxia Li of IP March, Beijing, China.
In Chinese judicial practice, the difficulty of burden of proof has always been one of the most difficult problems IPR holders face when defending their IP rights through civil lawsuits. The reason for this dilemma, on the one hand, lies in the absence of an “evidence discovery” system similar to that in the United States, and on the other hand, can be attributed to strong concealment of infringement and control of infringement evidence by the infringer.
With a judicial tendency of strengthening IP protection, the Supreme People’s Court specially issued the judicial interpretation, “Several Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Evidence for Civil Lawsuits Involving Intellectual Property” (hereinafter “the Provisions”) to try to break the dilemma. The Provisions came into effect on November 18, 2020, and make many significant breakthroughs to effectively reduce the IPR holder’s burden of proof in civil lawsuit, which are summarized as follows:
- Effectively reducing the burden of proof for IPR holders whose patented process does not produce a new product
Article 3 of the Provisions stipulates that where an IPR holder (the plaintiff) whose patented process does not manufacture a new product has fulfilled the burden of proof for the following facts:
(1) the product manufactured by the defendant is identical to that manufactured by the patented process;
(2) the product manufactured by the defendant is more likely to be produced by the patented process;
(3) the IPR holder (the plaintiff) had made reasonable efforts to prove the defendant’s use of the patented process,
the court may transfer the burden of proof to the defendant, requiring them to produce evidence to prove that their manufacturing process is different to the patented process.
- Setting up a remedy of evidence preservation, obstruction and punishment
With respect to evidence preservation conducted by the court, Articles 13 and 14 of the Provisions further emphasize that where the defendant, without reasonable ground, refuses to cooperate or interferes with the court’s action of evidence preservation so that the evidence could not be preserved, or where the defendant, without authorization, conducts the acts of disassembling, tampering with or any other acts of destroying the evidence successfully preserved so that the evidence could not be used, the defendant shall bear all the adverse consequences arising therefrom. Furthermore, where such acts constitute judicial nuisance, the defendant will be punished with fines, detainment and even criminal sanction.
- Citing mandatory submission orders of evidence and evidence presumption
In consideration that some critical evidence is controlled by the defendant, and the IPR holder is unable to acquire it, under the basic principle of “who claims, who adduces evidence”, Article 24 of the Provisions further allows the court, according to characteristics of evidence in different civil lawsuits, to directly issue mandatory submission orders to the defendant who possesses the evidence, ordering them to submit relevant evidence. Article 25 further stipulates that where the defendant, without proper grounds, refuses to submit, submits false evidence or destroys evidence or conducts any other acts that make the evidence unusable, the IPR holder’s corresponding claims relating to the evidence will be presumed tenable.
- Expanding the scope of evidence regarding damages
In order for further improving current issue of “high amount of claim but low amount of award of damages”, Article 31 of the Provisions expands the scope of evidence regarding damages, IPR holder is allowed to adduce the evidences including but not limited the financial accounts, sales contract, annual reports, prospectuses, records on the websites or brochures, transaction data stored in equipment systems, commodity circulation data from third-party platforms, evaluation reports, licensing contracts, and records from relevant authorities of market supervision, taxation and financial departments, etc., to support its claims of damages.
By Marcos Chucralla Moherdaui Blasi. Co-reporter of the Brazilian Group of AIPPI, Member of the Board of Directors of Brazilian Intellectual Property Association (ABPI). Partner at Gusmão & Labrunie Advogados.
This article briefly examines the purposes and status of the Brazilian INPI Patent Backlog Combat Plan and how it allows a new and promising perspective about protecting innovative assets in Brazil.
Patent backlog is a global concern and, in Brazil, has acquired the status of insolvable problem along the last decades.
After several years of discussion, with several proposals on the table – including a very controversial one (i.e., the possibility of automatic grant of all pending patent applications) – INPI (the Brazilian PTO) introduced, in 2019, a new program (“Program”) for handling this matter, through Resolutions 240 and 241, of July 3rd, 2019, jointly issued by its Presidency and the Director of Patents, Computer Programs, and Topography of Integrated Circuits (DIRPA).
Resolution 240 (in force since Aug/01/2019): “governs the preliminary requirement for the application for patent of invention pending examination, without searches conducted in Patent Offices of other countries, International or Regional Organizations” and Resolution 241 (in force since Jul/22/2019) “governs the preliminary requirement for the application for patent of invention pending examination, by using the result of searches conducted in Patent Offices of other countries, International or Regional Organizations”.
These Resolutions regulate the tackling of a challenging backlog reduction target of 80% in 2 years. For that, two preliminary requirements (orders 6.21 and 6.22) were established with the rationale of optimizing the examination by means of the issuance of standardized priority search reports.
Received with great enthusiasm by the affected community, the Program is inserted in the context of several recent initiatives adopted by INPI aiming at excelling in terms of operational performance as well as strengthening its position as an agency which effectively promotes enhancements in the productive and competitive environment.
For instance, the intensive investment in information technology and teleworking proved to be the right way especially within the context of COVID-19. Such initiatives trends to be catalyzed by the Intellectual Property National Strategy (ENPI), officially launched by the Brazilian government in December 2020, as part of the celebration of INPI’s 50th anniversary, which proposes 210 initiatives to transform the Brazilian IP system along the next decade.
In order to provide the society with full transparency and real-time monitoring as to the evolution of the Program, INPI has a specific page in its website (https://www.gov.br/inpi/pt-br/servicos/patentes/plano-de-combate-ao-backlog), which includes the supports received from national and international entities representing the most diverse sectors and types, including those defending a bigger restriction to the grant of patents.
Tangible results can already be noted. Of the nearly 150,000 applications mapped in the beginning of the program (August 2019), around 75,000 had already been examined on December 2020, a remarkable (and symbolic) reduction of 50% in only one and a half year.
Overcoming such a critical and historical problem and bringing the patent examination timeframe to reasonable parameters allow a new and promising perspective for the national and foreign entrepreneurs and companies intending to protect their innovative assets in Brazil, therefore fostering and benefiting all of the Brazilian productive and competitive ecosystem. Brazil is (definitely) coming back to the patent game.
By Edward Cronan of Hogarth Chambers, London, United Kingdom.
On 26 August 2020 the United Kingdom Supreme Court confirmed the ability of the UK courts to determine fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms for a global licence to a portfolio of standard essential patents. The determination arose in the context of a patentee’s claim for an injunction against further infringement of UK standard essential patents.
The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the High Court’s 2017 decision which held that as an alternative to an injunction a Defendant could enter into a licence on FRAND terms, which would be determined by the court. The High Court determined the terms of a global FRAND licence to be offered by Unwired Planet to handset manufacturer Huawei as an alternative to an injunction against infringement of two UK patents.
The Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s judgment, and also provided guidance on:
i) When a global licence will be FRAND;
ii) In what circumstances the UK will be the suitable forum to determine a FRAND licence;
iii) Whether licensors are obliged to offer all licensees the lowest rate they have offered elsewhere; and
iv) The effect of the CJEU’s judgment in Huawei v ZTE.
The Supreme Court's decision was given in the context of appeals in two separate cases. In one appeal patentee Unwired Planet sought an injunction against further infringement of its patents unless Huawei took a FRAND license, and the determination of what a FRAND licence should be. In the other case Conversant sought similar relief against Huawei and ZTE.
The Supreme Court's decision can be accessed online here.
The judges of the Supreme Court reached a unanimous decision that the UK courts could determine the terms of a global licence, including the per-patent royalty rates for patents said to be essential to 2G, 3G and 4G. The royalties that could be determined could relate to patents in force in other jurisdictions, even where there were existing proceedings between the parties as to the validity and essentiality of those patents in the foreign jurisdiction.
In reaching their decision the Supreme Court relied on the terms of the undertakings entered into by SEP holders, in particular those of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The court determined that based on those undertakings, and in the context of the standards in question, a global licence was FRAND. On that basis, an implementer could be subjected to a UK injunction based on a standard essential UK patent if it refused to enter into a global licence to the patents owned by the patentee.
The court also strongly implied that the decision would remain the same if considering the undertakings of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
It remains possible that for certain parties, industries, technical fields, or types of portfolio, a global licence may not be FRAND.
The English court determined that the evidence submitted before the lower courts was insufficient to show that there was an alternative jurisdiction in which the court would set the terms of a global licence. For that reason, there was no basis to interfere with their decision that England was the appropriate forum.
In future cases where the court is satisfied of the ability of one or more foreign courts to set a global FRAND licence, it will be necessary for the English courts to decide questions that were not answered by the Supreme Court. In particular, the English courts will have to reach a conclusion on (a) the question of whether FRAND litigation is properly characterised as a claim for settlement of a licence, or whether it is a claim for infringement of patents with a contractual defence; and (b) in each case whether England is the natural forum for the determination of the issues in the claim, according to the approach set out by the House of Lords in 1986 in The Spiliada (link).
The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the 'non-discrimination' part of FRAND meant that the Claimant was obliged to give an offer to Huawei at the same rate at which it gave an offer to Samsung. This rate was lower than that settled by the court in the global FRAND licence.
The Supreme Court decided it was not necessary for an offer to match the lowest offer given to a similarly situated licensee, the effect of the non-discrimination limb was general and not 'hard-edged'.
The Supreme Court also considered the effect of the CJEU's decision in Huawei v ZTE (link). They held that the behaviour set out in Huawei v ZTE provides a safe harbour within which conduct will not be anticompetitive, but that this did not mean that conduct which did not strictly comply with the CJEU's decision would be inherently anticompetitive. The Claimant had not acted abusively, as it was willing to grant a licence on whatever terms the court deemed to be FRAND.
The Supreme Court considered that some potential issues with global licensing could be addressed by the use of adjustment clauses, that allowed overseas decisions about the essentiality and validity of patents to cause an adjustment of the rate in the UK licence. The Supreme Court did not, however, consider whether the licence could account for royalty rates set by foreign courts in respect of the patents in their jurisdiction.
The question of whether adjustment clauses will be FRAND will be dictated by the extent to which they have the potential to reduce uncertainty in the royalty rate under the licence. For important jurisdictions (in terms of sales volume) such clauses are more likely to be FRAND, particularly where the cost of the necessary litigation in that jurisdiction is proportionate.
By Suebsiri Taweepon and Pongchaiwat Jirayustienjinda of Tilleke & Gibbins, Bangkok, Thailand.
E-commerce platforms have become some of the most significant marketplaces in Thailand, with millions of daily business transactions and huge numbers of online users. The increasing number of online shops operating on e-commerce platforms requires new techniques to be employed in online intellectual property (IP) rights infringement cases. Both the private sector and the government have developed tools to enhance online IP enforcement, including ones using the latest legal technologies and artificial intelligence (AI).
Many legal technologies and AI operations are still nascent and typically do not yet offer the best approach for online IP rights enforcement. For example, AI and other technologies available today are still unable to consistently differentiate between original and counterfeit products from the images and information displayed on the E-commerce platforms and the internet.
Therefore, some of the most effective measures for online IP enforcement still involve manual online searches by experienced local investigators with deep understanding of the behaviors of local users (both sellers and buyers) and the ability to link relevant information across online platforms.
Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), as the governmental office responsible for IP-related matters in Thailand, has initiated its new Memorandum of Understanding on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights on the Internet. This memorandum of understanding (MOU) does not create additional rights for IP owners, but acts as a mechanism to gather all the relevant stakeholders to address issues related to online IP infringement in a unified, mutually agreeable manner.
The signatories of the MOU fall into four categories:
- Governmental authorities: DIP, Department of Business Development, and Department of International Trade Promotion
- E-commerce platform operators: Lazada, Shopee, and JD Central (the most popular e-commerce platforms in Thailand)
- IP rights holders: Particularly including trademark owners facing ongoing counterfeiting problems in Thailand
- Law firms
Although the MOU is not legally binding on the signatory parties, it demonstrates the intent of the government authorities and the e-commerce platforms to collaborate in the prevention and suppression of online IP infringement. This is expected to greatly improve the cooperation of the e-commerce platforms in online infringement matters.
The inaugural signing ceremony of the MOU has been scheduled for mid-January 2021. After this, the DIP will still allow other IP owners to join the MOU as the signatory members upon request. IP owners who join this MOU will be visibly recognized and will receive strong support from both government offices and the participating e-commerce platforms to resolve IP infringement issues in Thailand.
Joining the MOU would be especially beneficial to IP owners and e-commerce platforms, so we look forward to assisting these parties with the formalities in order to help them obtain the benefits possible via this collaborative mechanism and enhance the potential of online IP enforcement in Thailand.
By Luiz Edgard Montaury Pimenta. Senior partner at Montaury Pimenta, Machado & Vieira de Mello, and President of ABPI (Brazilian IP Association).
The Supreme Court of Brazil is about to schedule the judgement session of the lawsuit (ADIN) 5529 filed by the Federal District Attorney’s Office seeking the invalidation of the sole paragraph of section 40 of the Brazilian Patent Law, which provides for a minimum term of 10 years of validity of patents after their grant by the Brazilian Patent Office.
ABPI, the Brazilian IP Association, the major IP Association in Brazil, that I am proud to serve as President since 2018, has been accepted in this lawsuit to defend the legality of such a provision, and so consequently presented strong arguments on behalf of the validity of this section in our Patent Law, and requested the rejection of the lawsuit.
As a matter of fact, this provision implements an international rule which Brazil and other countries freely accepted (section 62 , 2 , of the TRIPs Agreement), as being essential for patent holders to enjoy the exclusive exploitation of their invention by a minimum period of 10 years.
In fact, this rule should hardly ever be applied for, being only a guarantee for a 10 year minimum period of a patent after its granting by the Brazilian Patent Office.
The Brazilian IP Association (ABPI) has recently published a full page manifesto in a major Brazilian business newspaper (Valor) in favor of innovation and of the maintenance of the term of patents in Brazil. A copy of this publication is attached as an English translation.
Since August 2019, the Brazilian Patent Office has implemented a program through which they seek the elimination of the longstanding, existing (and unacceptable) patent backlog, which has been contested on a regular basis during several years by ABPI and other entities, by carrying out an extraordinary and meritorious effort to reduce the examination term of patent applications in Brazil. We all hope that in the near future a patent will be only exceptionally granted after a period of 10 years.
We hope and believe that the Brazilian Supreme Court will share this same understanding and will maintain the validity of this provision in our Patent Law.
By Kozo YABE of Yuasa & Hara, Tokyo, Japan.
On December 2, 2020, an amendment of the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act was passed by the Diet. It was immediately promulgated on December 9, 2020. This amendment particularly intends to prevent the erosion of registered seed and plant varieties to foreign farms and markets without the consent and control of a breeder. The amendment of export controlling rights by breeder’s right and the indication of registered seeds and plants will be effective on April 1, 2021 while other amendments will become effective on April 1, 2022.
The Act provides a registration system for a variety of seeds and plants, giving a breeder an exclusive right for 25 - 30 years from the registration date. Such registered breeder’s right secures an exclusive right to utilize the registered variety of seeds and plants plus their processed products for business. So then, the breeder’s right is considered one of the intellectual/industrial property rights in agricultural industries. The registration system is operated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). MAFF provides an examination procedure to review characteristics of the different variety of seeds and plants, and other requirements in the registration application. The registered breeder’s right can be licensed to a third party and may be enforced by injunctions, damages and other measures to restore the reputation of a business against an infringer of a breeder’s right. The infringer may also be penalized by imprisonment for 10 years or less and/or fine of 10 million JPY or less in the case of an individual. If the infringement was conducted by a corporation, a fine of 300 million JPY or less can be imposed.
Despite the current system to protect intellectual assets achieved by longtime efforts to create a new variety of seeds and plants, various seeds and plants created have been transferred from Japan to other countries via loopholes in the Act; because the erosion to foreign business persons/farmers either directly or indirectly can occur via Japanese farmers, individuals and seeding dealers. Such situations could be exempted and be legal under the old Act. In particular, rice, grapes, strawberries and cherries have been especially targeted.
The amendment in December 2020 tries to fix the above mentioned situation by the following measures. First, the amendment gives a breeder the opportunity to specify a limited purpose and a limited territory for utilizing the registered variety of seeds and plants when they transfer the registered variety of seeds and plants to a farmer, an individual and/or a seeding dealer. Second, in the case of a farmer who wants to conduct self-propagation, the farmer is required to have the consent of the breeder. This amendment makes it easier for the breeder to prove how the farmer intentionally or inadvertently conducts unauthorized self-propagation. It may also ease the application of criminal penalties and damage claims against the illegal conduct of farmers.
Additionally, an indication of registered seed and plant varieties also becomes mandatory. In order to achieve more efficient utilization of a breeder’s rights, an assumption of identity will be also adopted regarding the identity of alleged infringed characteristics of seeds and plants with the registered characteristics in the registry. This assists a breeder in easily asserting any infringement of their rights in a courtroom. Furthermore, an amendment procedure of the characteristics of the variety and an administrative arbitration of MAFF is also adopted.
On the other hand, the above mentioned expansion of a breeder’s right unfortunately leads to political tension with farmers, especially small-size farmers wishing to keep their freedom to conduct self-propagation and are against the increasing costs of registration at MAFF and royalties to breeders. They remain skeptical about any amendment which may suppress their freedom. This situation still remains and should be monitored to see how it may influence future developments of the Act.
By Francesca Morri and Giulio Enrico Sironi of the Crespi Law Firm and Simmons & Simmons respectively.
During the COVID 19 Emergency the Italian Group of AIPPI organized a number of webinars on IP related issues. The goal was to investigate whether, and how, the emergency impacted the management, enforcement, licensing and other aspects of IP Rights. On November 12th, 2020 we participated in a webinar on Copyright, examining the following topic: “Public procurement, free license and open source”. It was an extremely up-to-date topic since, during the emergency, Italian Public Procurement of innovative solutions had increased due to the need to trace contacts, collect, store and manage data, etc.
The webinar also dealt with other topics: Marco Ricolfi and Alessandro Cogo spoke about digital platforms and access to protected works; Giorgio Mondini and Fabio Ghiretti explained how shows, concerts and other cultural and entertainment events migrated to the on-line environment, focussing on the management and protection of the related IP Rights. The webinar was opened and led by Silvia Vitrò, President of the Turin IP Court.
With regard to Public Procurement in general, we started with a quick overview of the Italian rules on this matter, in order to facilitate better comprehension of the problems which can arise if Parties do not consider the IP rights on the product/process which is the subject of the tender.
Basically, when a Public Authority needs products/processes incorporating technology, a distinction must be made between technology which already exists and technology which still needs to be created and developed. In the former case, if the already existing technology is not covered by property rights, Public Procurement is conducted through an open tender, in which the product/process is purchased from the company that offers the best product at the best price compared to other candidates. If, however, the existing technology is covered by exclusive property rights the only possibility is to directly purchase the good from the holder of such rights. In the latter case (technology still to be developed) contracts between the Public Authority and the private party do not relate to purchasing existing products or processes, but to creating innovation - the Public Procurement of innovation. It is therefore necessary to regulate the way in which that innovation is to be achieved and, above all, the ownership and rights to exploit the innovation, once it has been achieved.
In general terms, legal ownership of IP rights on results of a Public Procurement of innovation may belong to (a) the public buyer, (b) the company or (c) both. In the first case, the public buyer bears all the costs of the innovation and can fully use and exploit it. However, the companies involved may only have a limited incentive to innovate and the company with the best solution may quit the tender because the value thereof does not cover the entire cost of the innovation. In the second case the companies involved have a full incentive to innovate and to search for the best solution. The public buyer, however, which pays less than the cost of the innovation, can use the results of the research only for the limited purpose of the tender. A vendor lock-in is also possible and this is a very serious disadvantage for the public buyer. In the third case, ownership of the IP rights on the results of the Public Procurement of innovation is shared between the public buyer and the company. We believe this is the most efficient solution if the public buyer has limited financial resources and/or is not interested in exploiting the IP rights on the results of the Public Procurement.
There are several possible contractual schemes for regulating this third case. One option is co-ownership of the rights on the innovation between the Public Authority and the company, provisions being established on the respective rights of exploitation and possible cross-licensing. Another option is ownership by the Public Authority, but with an area of exclusive license, possibly free of charge, in favour of the company, which would be the only company entitled to exploit the innovation in that area. Ownership by the company is also conceivable, but with a free open licence being given to the Public Authority.
The Italian Law also provides detailed rules for specific cases of public procurement. Some of them are related to ownership of IP Rights on the results of Public Procurement of innovation. For example, according to sections 68 and 69 of Legislative Decree no. 82/2005 (on the Public Procurement of software) the Public Authority must choose solutions based on open access software and (unless there are well-founded technical and financial reasons to the contrary) tenders for Public Procurement must give the buyer full ownership of the IP Rights on the results of the procurement. The Public Authority must also release at its expense the source code of any software developed for the same Authority. Further provisions are set out for the dissemination of information and data developed by, or for, the Public Authority, Universities, etc. A good example is the Position Statement signed in 2013 by the leading Italian research centres and institutions (including CNR, CRUI, ISS).
During the COVID-19 Emergency the Italian Public Authorities (just like those of other countries) had an urgent need for innovation in different fields (health treatment, vaccines, diagnostic kits, etc.), one of which related to the contact tracing app intended to be installed in citizens’ smartphones in order to prevent the spread of infection. Study of the procurement of this app showed, among other things, that the Public Authority required an open access solution, with personal data protection being guaranteed. Due to the fact that, according to the tender, the app was developed for free, in the final part of the webinar we were able to discuss with the public (with the intervention of the other panellists and the moderator) the general topic of internet platforms and no-price markets.
All in all, the webinar proved to be an excellent occasion to reflect on the interplay between IP Law and Public Law. Although this is a topic which has already been discussed in the past among scholars and practitioners, the COVID-19 Emergency has made the need for clear, flexible solutions in this field particularly urgent and challenging.
Invitation to the XXXVI Annual Conference of the Spanish Group of AIPPI.
The XXXVI Annual Conference of the Spanish Group of AIPPI will be held, in online format, on February the 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th, 2021.
The Annual Conference is for free for AIPPI Spain members, as indeed it is for members of other AIPPI National and Regional Groups too. (There is a small fee for non-AIPPI members who wish to join).
By Guocheng Ma of Beijing TA Law Firm, People’s Republic of China.
The 2020 AIPPI China Copyright Forum was successfully held in Beijing on December 12, 2020, attracting more than 150 attendees, including representatives of judiciary authorities, scholars, experts, business representatives from the internet industry and the entertainment industry, lawyers, students and members of AIPPI.
The forum focused on cutting-edge and sophisticated issues in the field of copyright law, with in-depth theoretical and practical analysis. Mr. Tian Lipu, President of AIPPI China, and Mr. Yu Cike, Director of Copyright Administration of the People’s Republic of China addressed the audience at the opening, which was moderated by Mr. (Richard) Yi Li, Secretary-General of AIPPI China.
Ms. Min Hao, Member of the Copyright Committee of AIPPI China, announced the annual Top Ten Copyright Cases of 2020 AIPPI China. Ms. Xiaoxia Zhang, Chief Judge of Trial Supervision Division of Beijing Intellectual Property Court, subsequently provided her comments on the cases.
The following topics at the Forum included professional reviews and thought-provoking lectures on the “Amendments to China Copyright Law”, “Protection of Personality Rights of Copyright”, “Trends in Copyright Protection under the Realm of the Internet”, and the “2020 AIPPI Adopted Resolution regarding IP Rights in Data” and many more.
Last but not least, with sincere appreciation for the efforts made by all guests and staff, Mr. Jun Wang, Chairman of the Copyright Committee of AIPPI China and Managing Partner of Beijing TA Law Firm, and Chuanhong Long, Vice President of AIPPI China, co-hosted the closing ceremony of the forum and gave a brief introduction to the upcoming forum to be held next year. Finally, they expressed their best wishes for prospective developments in the copyright field.
The 2020 AIPPI China Copyright Forum in Beijing
By Simone Vandewynckel, National Group Reporter, AIPPI Belgium.
The AIPPI Belgian Group held their annual Study Day in December, and for the first time the event was held online, with the support of AIPPI International. With speakers from Belgium and abroad, the event was split into four online seminars on patent law, trademark law and the calculation of compensation and costs in IP disputes.
Every year around November, AIPPI Belgium holds a Study Day in Brussels where hot topics in the IP field are discussed. This year, as the Study Day was online for the first time, the Belgian association decided to hold it "free of charge" and to open it to a broad international audience. Four webinars were proposed, as well as breakout sessions for social networking, and "poll questions" from the speakers to the participants, to increase interaction and dialogue with the audience. As usual, speakers were drawn from universities, industries, private practice and the tribunals. More than 200 participants registered for the event, with around 100 effective participants per webinar. Strong preparation backstage by our Presidents, André Clerix and Dominique Kaesmacher together with our administrative assistant, Anémone Seutin, the team of Cinzia Petruzzello and our five moderators of the webinars, resulted in a great success!
Regarding the content of the webinars, the two morning sessions were dedicated to patent law. In the first webinar, “Interfacing different employment and patent regimes in global inventions - a piece of cake?” the speaker from Finland, Anne-Mari Lummevuo, PhD (Legal Counsel & Patent Attorney) presented her PhD thesis on the topic of multinational inventions. The session was moderated by Francis Leyder, European & Belgian Patent Attorney (Gevers), and the President of EPI.
The second webinar related to "research exception in patent law" consisted of a panel with many speakers and contributors. After a theoretical introduction by Patricia Cappuyns (Attorney-at-law (Fox IP Law) and lecturer (Vesalius College Brussels)), the panel allowed several players from university Tech Transfer Offices and from the industry to present their views on the subject. From the university TTO’s, the participants on the panel were An Van Den Broecke (IP & licensing Manager (TTO UGent)), Frédéric Pierard, PhD (registered Technology Transfer Professional (TTO ULB)) and Fiona Demeur (Legal Advisor (TTO ULB)). From industry: Frank Landolt (European Patent Attorney, Chief Counsel Legal & IP at Confo Therapeutics), Daphné Derouane (European Patent Attorney, Associate-General Patent counsel at UCB) and Didier Leboutte (Group Intellectual Property Manager, Corporate Development Manager at John Cockerill). The session was moderated by Domien Op de Beeck (Attorney-at-law, Bird & Bird).
In the afternoon, the first session was dedicated to trademark law with an “Anthology of European case-law 2020 in trademark law” presented by Vincent Ruzek, PhD, Lawyer at the EUIPO, who provided an overview of the most relevant recent developments of the case of the Court of Justice on trademark law. The session was moderated by Emmanuel Cornu (Attorney-at-law, Simont Braun).
The last session of the day, “Cost and Compensation in IP disputes”, was again a panel with speakers from different backgrounds. Dietger Glorieux (Legal Counsel, Pepsico Belux and Research fellow at ULiège) and Kristof Neefs (Attorney-at-law, Inteo) provided the theoretical framework on damages and costs respectively. The issues were then discussed from Belgian and Dutch points of view, with a panel consisting of Constant van Nispen (Professor, Free University Amsterdam), Frederic Blockx, PhD (Judge, Enterprise Court Antwerp) and Paul Reeskamp (Advocaat, DLA Piper Amsterdam). The session was moderated by Sarah van den Brande (Attorney-at-law, Liedekerke) and Bernard Vanbrabant, PhD (Attorney-at-law, Liedekerke and Professor, ULiège).
By Ms. Lei ZHANG and Mr. Yakai SHI of China Patent Agent (H.K.) Ltd. and Beijing DAKUN Law Firm respectively, People’s Republic of China.
On the afternoon of January 8, 2021, AIPPI China and the Intellectual Property Publishing House (IPPH) jointly organized an online seminar about trademark strategies of corporations and the sustainability of business environment, which was warmly welcome by AIPPI members and others, and got more than 19,000 clicks at the peak.
Experts from various backgrounds gathered together to present their perspectives on topics of "Interpretation and application of Article 10 paragraph 1 (g) and (h) of Chinese Trademark Law" and "the necessity of trademark registration covering all classes", including senior examiners of Trademark Office of CNIPA, a judge from the Intellectual Property Tribunal of Beijing High People's Court, an IP professor from Renmin University, in-house counsels from Huawei Technology Co., Ltd., Xiaomi Corp., Midea Group, Erdos Group, NBC Universal Inc., and trademark attorneys from the Trademark Committee of AIPPI China.
Article 10 of the Chinese Trademark Law
The following signs shall not be used as trademarks:
g. Those that are deceptive and are likely to cause public confusion in terms of quality, other characteristics or place of production of relevant goods;
h. Those detrimental to socialist morality and custom or having other ill effects.
Trademark Seminar jointly organized by AIPPI China