Intellectual Property updates

Argentina

Contributed by Obligado & Cia
Sweet tooth: new appellation of origin introduced
  • Argentina
  • 13 May 2019

Law 25,163/1999 and Law 25,380/2000 govern appellations of origin in Argentina for wines and wine-based spirits as well as agricultural and food products, respectively. The Ministry of Production and Labour recently acknowledged a new appellation of origin for a sweet quince paste produced in San Juan that is part of the local culinary tradition and whose characteristics derive from the manufacturing process and the quality of the quinces produced in the province.

Designations, trade names and the Civil and Commercial Code
  • Argentina
  • 25 February 2019

The terms 'corporate name', 'trade name' and 'designation' are frequently used without distinction in commerce and business. However, these expressions must be clearly distinguished. While corporate names distinguish corporations and their use and protection are based on the Companies Law, designations are protected under the Law on Trademarks.

Amendments to law on industrial models and designs
  • Argentina
  • 03 December 2018

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.

Regulation of new trademark opposition system
  • Argentina
  • 08 October 2018

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.

Health Authority and use of trademarks on pharmaceuticals
  • Argentina
  • 06 August 2018

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.


Austria

Flashlight decision illuminates compensation guidelines for unlawful use of IP rights
  • Austria
  • 22 April 2019

The Supreme Court recently had to decide whether the infringer of a registered Community design had to hand over the entire net profit or just a share of profit earned due to its use of an infringed design. The decision has great practical importance, as it gives IP rights holders clear guidelines regarding what to expect when claiming compensation for an unlawful use of their rights.

Dispenser for free newspapers – work of art?
  • Austria
  • 17 December 2018

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.

Exhaustion of trademark rights and burden of proof
  • Austria
  • 03 September 2018

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.

Selective distribution systems and exhaustion of trademark rights
  • Austria
  • 04 June 2018

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.

Marketability is key: if a work can be separated it is not a joint work
  • Austria
  • 08 January 2018

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.


Belgium

Desperate times call for ex parte interim measures in patent disputes
ALTIUS
  • Belgium
  • 18 March 2019

Preliminary injunctions are rarely granted on an ex parte basis in Belgium and adversarial debates are considered a cornerstone of legal proceedings which can be deviated from only in cases of absolute necessity. However, ex parte interim measures have been granted in at least four patent disputes in Belgium in recent years, which helps to shed light on the circumstances under which patentees can consider them to be a measure of last resort to stop a threat of infringement.

Express recognition and clarification of trade secret protection in Belgium
ALTIUS
  • Belgium
  • 11 February 2019

On 30 July 2018 the Belgian legislature transposed the EU Trade Secrets Directive into domestic law via the Trade Secret Law. The Trade Secret Law is welcomed, as no general regulatory framework regarding trade secrets previously existed in Belgium. It remains to be seen how the law will be used and applied in practice, but it is an essential means in effectively appropriating, protecting and exploiting innovation by providing trade secret holders with the tools to protect valid trade secrets.

Trademarks versus artistic freedom of expression: milestone referral for preliminary ruling
ALTIUS
  • Belgium
  • 09 July 2018

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.

Parallel import of medicinal products
ALTIUS
  • Belgium
  • 06 November 2017

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.


Canada

Contributed by Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh
Supreme Court of Canada denies Apotex leave to appeal in two cases
  • Canada
  • 08 July 2019

The Supreme Court of Canada has denied Apotex leave to appeal in two recent cases. In the first case, Apotex sought leave to appeal a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal permitting Sanofi and Schering to amend their defences to claims relating to ramipril. In the second case, Apotex sought leave to appeal a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal relating to damages awarded to Eli Lilly in respect of Apotex's infringement of process patents relating to cefaclor.

Experimental use exception under recently amended Patent Act
  • Canada
  • 08 July 2019

Canada recently introduced the Budget Implementation Act 2, which brought about several changes to the Patent Act affecting the scope of protection available under Canadian patents. Included in the changes was the addition of a new provision providing an exception from infringement for experimental use of patented technologies. The new provision applies to any action or proceeding that was not finally disposed of as of 13 December 2018.

Update on PMPRB guidelines modernisation
  • Canada
  • 01 July 2019

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) previously announced that the steering committee on guidelines modernisation would hold its final meeting on 13 May 2019 to discuss both a draft report of its deliberations and the working group's final report. Once the steering committee's report has been finalised and the regulatory amendments have been published in Part II of the Canada Gazette, the PMPRB will release its draft guidelines for public consultation.

Infringement based on making and selling under existing NOC struck from action
  • Canada
  • 01 July 2019

The Federal Court has granted in part Pharmascience's motion to strike out portions of Teva's statement of claim under Subsection 6(1) of the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) (PMNOC) Regulations relating to glatiramer acetate (Teva's Copaxone and Pharmascience's Glatect). The court found that it is plain and obvious that Section 6.02 of the PMNOC Regulations prohibits the joinder of a regular infringement action under the Patent Act with an action pursuant to Subsection 6(1).

Canada introduces Bill C-100: step towards ratification of NAFTA 2.0
  • Canada
  • 24 June 2019

In a step towards ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the government recently introduced Bill C-100, entitled "An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States", in Parliament. If ratified, the USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and will require several changes to Canada's IP laws.


Cayman Islands

New Cayman Islands IP regime
  • Cayman Islands
  • 11 September 2017

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.