Spain updates

Intellectual Property

Contributed by Grau & Angulo
FC Barcelona prevents registering of industrial design featuring image of Camp Nou
  • Spain
  • November 20 2017

The Catalonia High Court of Justice recently revoked a Spanish Patent and Trademark Office decision which had granted the registration of an industrial design featuring an image of the Camp Nou stadium. The court considered that the alleged ground for refusal to be assessed was whether the design included the prior trademarks owned by Futbol Club (FC) Barcelona. It concluded that the design's registration would lead to a paradox, as the owner could contest FC Barcelona's use of its own image.

Supreme Court rules on foreign companies' legal standing to sue for trade secret infringement
  • Spain
  • October 30 2017

The Supreme Court recently acknowledged a US company's legal standing to file claims on the basis of Articles 13 (trade secret infringement) and 14 (misuse of an industrial or business secret) of the Unfair Competition Act. The Supreme Court's interpretation has favourably clarified that active foreign companies doing business in Spain have legal standing to sue for certain acts of unfair competition.

Court of appeal maintains flexible interpretation of preclusion principle in patent invalidity case
  • Spain
  • October 23 2017

The Barcelona Court of Appeal recently upheld the appeal filed by Sistemas Técnicos de Encofrados, SA against a Barcelona Commercial Court Number 4 order, in which PERI GmbH had successfully opposed the exception of lis pendens (ie, a pending legal action) on the principle of preclusion provided for in the Civil Procedural Act. The court ruled that a rigid and inflexible interpretation of the act, as intended by PERI, is contrary to the right to effective judicial protection provided for by the Constitution.

Barcelona courts lift preliminary injunctions previously granted ex parte in oxycodone/naloxone case
  • Spain
  • October 02 2017

Through two recent decisions, Barcelona Commercial Court Number 4 and Barcelona Commercial Court Number 1 lifted the preliminary injunctions that they had previously granted ex parte in relation to the imminent market launch of two oxycodone/naloxone generic medicinal products. This is the first time that a preliminary injunction has been revoked or refused in Spain based on indicia of invalidity of the asserted patent due to added matter.

Barcelona Court of Appeal confirms non-infringement of Novartis's rivastigmine patch patent
  • Spain
  • September 18 2017

The Barcelona Court of Appeal recently confirmed a first-instance decision which had dismissed the patent infringement action filed by Novartis against several generics for alleged infringement of its European patent relating to a therapeutic transdermal system for the administration of rivastigmine. In its decision, the court reiterated the importance of interpreting a claim in light of the description of the patent, which in this case clearly supported the defendants' understanding of its scope.


Litigation

Contributed by Pérez-Llorca
Supreme Court rules on whether dissolved companies can be sued
  • Spain
  • June 27 2017

The Supreme Court recently considered whether the cancellation of a company with the Companies Registry removes its legal capacity or only limits it for the purposes of covering the debts that appear after such cancellation, in which case the company could be sued. Another issue that this ruling clarifies is who should represent such a company in court.

Protective letters finally receive legal recognition
  • Spain
  • May 16 2017

A protective letter is a form of anticipatory defence against ex parte interim measures. It aims to present the defendant's arguments to the court before an ex parte interim measure is adopted and, if possible, prompt the court to call for a hearing before adopting the interim measure. While Spanish law did not previously recognise protective letters, the recently enacted Patent Act recognises them in relation to IP matters.

Court issues milestone ruling for sharing economy and digital platforms
  • Spain
  • March 14 2017

In a pioneering ruling, Madrid Commercial Court 2 recently ruled in favour of a French company and its Spanish subsidiary with regard to an unfair competition claim. Notably, the judge ruled that the subsidiary's operation of a digital platform through which people arrange to share a road journey (and the associated costs) is legal and does not constitute a transport activity. The ruling is the first step towards establishing the long-awaited legal framework for this type of activity.

State Immunity from Enforcement
  • Spain
  • December 23 2008

Spanish law provides that Spanish courts have jurisdiction to decide on disputes taking place within Spanish territory and involving Spanish and foreign nationals. The only exceptions to this are in cases of either immunity from jurisdiction or immunity from enforcement as established in public international law. Notwithstanding this general rule, there are certain exceptions in case law.


Shipping & Transport

Land or maritime transport? Court rules on transport of goods from ship to unloading area
  • Spain
  • March 08 2017

In a June 2016 decision the Supreme Court applied the previous International Merchant Shipping Act 1949 to establish which party was responsible for damages incurred during the unloading of goods. The case centred on whether the transport of goods from the ship to the unloading area constituted land or maritime transport, which in turn would determine whether the claim for damages was subject to an expiration or a prescription period.

Supreme Court interprets 'wilful misconduct' by carriers
  • Spain
  • February 22 2017

Due to the differences between continental and common law, the Spanish courts have found it difficult to distinguish between the legal concepts of 'wilful misconduct' and 'gross negligence'. In recent years, the courts have issued rulings exploring these concepts in a number of cases involving the theft of goods during carriage. Specifically, two 2015 Supreme Court judgments have clarified and consolidated the concepts.

Maritime privileged credits under Insolvency Act
  • Spain
  • January 11 2017

The Insolvency Act is based on the principle of universality with regard to assets and liabilities. However, certain credits – including maritime privileged credits – must be separated from a bankruptcy estate, resulting in a breach of this principle. Ultimately, if a maritime privileged credit is exercised against the ship of a party undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, the creditor or owner of the credit can separate the ship from the bankruptcy estate if the liquidation of assets phase has yet to commence.

Jurisdiction clauses in bills of lading
  • Spain
  • December 07 2016

The Spanish courts have increasingly dismissed cargo claims brought by cargo owners or their subrogated underwriters, citing a lack of jurisdiction due to the inclusion of a jurisdiction clause in the bill of lading. However, in some cases, the courts have followed this trend without performing a strict analysis of the jurisdiction clause in question, thereby accepting clauses of questionable validity.

Dealing with goods abandoned at ports
  • Spain
  • July 06 2016

The Community Customs Code states that the 'abandonment' of goods must be carried out in accordance with national provisions and must not cause harm to public funds. The Navigation Act and the Police Regulations, Rules and Service Ports govern the treatment of goods abandoned in port service areas.


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