Emergency Decree 274/2019 has established a comprehensive system for regulating unfair competition. Many practices punished by the new unfair competition rules affect IP rights. Further, the new legislation establishes a series of provisions that are highly valued in the IP field, including the detailed regulation of comparative advertising and provisions referring to names of origin and trade secrets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) Steering Committee on the Modernisation of Price Review Process Guidelines recently released its final report summarising its deliberations in providing stakeholder feedback on the PMPRB's proposed new framework for the regulation of the prices of patented medicines.
Most interlocutory decisions under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) (PMNOC) Regulations are made by prothonotaries of the Federal Court. The first Federal Court of Appeal decision in an appeal of an interlocutory order under the amended PMNOC Regulations was recently issued. The court found that the prothonotary had been entitled to arrive at a view of what was best for the particular proceeding and saw no reviewable error that would justify its intervention.
The Competition Bureau recently released its updated IP Enforcement Guidelines. While the guidelines are technical and directed at IP and competition law practitioners, there are key aspects of the bureau's approach and various scenarios involving competition and intellectual property that could arise for consideration. As such, when issues relating to IP and competition law arise, including when deciding whether to pursue the licensing or enforcement of IP rights, legal advice should be sought.
The Federal Court of Appeal recently granted the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board's (PMPRB's) appeal and returned to the board the matter of whether the invention of the patent at hand pertained to Galderma's Differin. The court addressed several issues, including whether the PMPRB had acted unreasonably in limiting its review of the patent to selected portions.
Pampered Chef, a world leader in the sale of premium kitchenware products, recently succeeded at trial in defending trademark infringement, passing off and dilution and depreciation of goodwill claims brought by Canada's largest retailer, Loblaws, in relation to its use of a trademark that includes the letters 'P' and 'C'. After considering all of the factors, the court dismissed all of the claims against Pampered Chef, notwithstanding the fame of Loblaws' marks and the similarities between the parties' goods.
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.