Latest Official News
Published: 14 June 2010
By: Tibor Gold
The following report on the latest official news is from the May 2010 issue of the CIPA Journal.
Consolidated versions of the Treaty on EU and TFEU
On 30 March 2010, consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union (found here) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (found here) were published in the Official Journal (OJ 2010 C83/13 and 47) together with the annexes (found here) and protocols (found here) resulting from the amendments introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on 1 December 2009. A table of equivalences (found here) setting out the new numbering for the provisions of the Treaties has also been published (OJ 2010 C83/361). (Source: PLC IPIT & Communications e-weekly)
The Commission’s Time to Act
A raft of financial market reforms and measures to help boost innovation were outlined on 31 March in the European Commission’s work programme for 2010. Entitled ‘Time to act’, this strategic document puts into effect the political guidelines presented by Commission President Barroso in September 2009 and provides a taste of things to come this year and beyond.
Seeking to relaunch the single market project, the Commission will publish a white paper building on the imminent report of Professor, and former Commissioner, Mario Monti. Proposals will also cover the sticky issue of the language regime for the EU patent and a review of the EU trade mark regime. Work will continue on implementing the Services Directive – also a key priority for Commissioner Barnier. Measures to further the digital agenda are also outlined with a view to establishing a borderless online marketplace.
Justice measures to underpin the internal market are high on the agenda with a revision of one of the cornerstones of cross-border litigation, the Brussels I Regulation, underway. A draft amending Regulation will be published before the end of the year.
EU Competition: New vertical agreements block exemption
Regulation 330/2010 on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices has been published in the Official Journal OJ 2010 L102/1.
Regulation 330/2010 will replace the existing vertical agreements block exemption, Regulation 2790/1999, from 1 June 2010 and will expire on 31 May 2022. There is a transitional period from 1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011 for agreements already in force on 31 May 2010, which do not satisfy the conditions for exemption in Regulation 330/2010 but which, as at 31 May 2010, did satisfy the conditions for exemption in Regulation 2790/1999. (Source: PLC IPIT & Communications e-weekly)
EU and Legal Professional Privilege
Advocate General denies privilege to in-house lawyers
On 29 April, Advocate General Kokott handed down her opinion in the case of Akzo Nobel Chemicals v European Commission (C-550/07) concerning protection, by legal professional privilege (LPP), of legal advice given by in-house lawyers. In 2007, the EU Court of First Instance (now General Court) rejected the argument that such advice should receive LPP protection. She advised the Court to dismiss the appeal, arguing against LPP protection for such lawyers’ advice.
The case has clear implications for in-house patent attorneys’ privilege. We will follow the case as it wends its way to the full Court.
Text of draft Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement published
The European Commission has published the text of the draft Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This has been quite controversial as the negotiations have been conducting in much secrecy, creating disquiet among interested parties. We now know that ACTA is currently being negotiated by Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the US. ACTA seeks to: increase international co-operation against IP infringement primarily by counterfeiting, including information sharing and co-operation between law enforcement authorities; to establish best practice in enforcement methods that promote strong IP protection; and to provide a coherent legal framework to tackle large-scale infringement. Negotiations are still continuing. For the Commission press release click here ; and for the current text of ACTA click here.
A new Practice Amendment Notice issued, PAN 1/10 – Examination practice in relation to Protected Symbols; for the full text click here.
There cannot be many among you not aware by now of the decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal to judge the President’s reference to it inadmissible. For a press release on the subject see here and here for the full 58-page decision.
A Notice was issued by the EPO on 4 May 2010 concerning the programme for accelerated prosecution of European patent applications – ‘PACE’; click here.
Ashes but no sackcloth
For a Notice from the EPO dated 3 May 2010 concerning the extension of time limits under Rule 134 EPC as a result of the Icelandic volcano click here.
Changes to the Manual of Trade Mark Practice have been published, to view them please click here.
Alicante and volcano
OHIM’s announcement of the effect on time limits of the Icelandic eruption is found here.
OHIM Annual Report 2009
This is out now and may be downloaded from here.
According to a PCT Newsletter (click here to see it) a new Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval (CLIR) facility is now available under the PATENTSCOPE® search service for public testing here. Using this tool, search queries in one language are translated into several other languages by special software developed by WIPO on the basis of statistical analysis of terminology in patent application texts.