The government has commenced proceedings in Parliament to ratify the Singapore Treaty. It also submitted draft amendments to the Law on Trademarks that would, among other things, implement the provisions of the treaty, modernise registration procedures for trademarks and eliminate the requirement that trademark licensing agreements be registered before they can be used against third parties.
Lithuania's substantive competition law is similar to EU competition law; the main differences stem from enforcement rules and priorities. In recent times the Competition Council has adopted guidelines regarding fines and announced its enforcement priorities, highlighting several main characteristics of its approach.
Intellectual property can be transferred by assignment or licence agreement, by inheritance and by other procedures prescribed by law. Transferors and transferees of IP assets should ensure that they understand the tax consequences of assigning or licensing intellectual property in Lithuania.
A Competition Council decision against 32 shipbroking and agency companies, together with their representative association, in connection with a price-fixing agreement has been appealed to the Administrative Court. It raises significant questions about the de facto termination of anti-competitive practices and the extent to which an undertaking in an association must distance itself from infringing practices by the association.
Parliament has finally adopted new legislation to reform Lithuania's private copying levy, covering blank analogue and digital media and personal reproduction devices with memory and recording functions. The law is expected to raise well over double the current annual revenue. However, it remains to be seen whether the new regime will meet the expectations of the creative industries.
A recent Supreme Court decision is the first in Lithuanian case law on the issue of the arbitrability of public procurement disputes. However, it has already sparked a debate among experts. Is it a Pandora's box, opening up the possibility of more disputes being deemed non-arbitrable, or is it a necessary weapon against bad-faith actions arising from public procurement relationships?
A recent judgment is likely to prove significant for companies facing competition enforcement in Lithuania. The court delineated the responsibilities of market regulatory authorities and the Competition Authority, clarified the standard of proof for the authority and confirmed that in-depth economic analysis is needed to determine the existence of abuse of dominant position by applying excessive prices.
A recent Court of Appeal decision on interim measures sought by pharmaceuticals company Bayer has important lessons for the protection of patents in Lithuania. When seeking interim measures, the effect of which would virtually coincide with the consequences of a successful claim, the patent holder must have a strong patent with no reasonable doubts surrounding its validity.
After Lithuania regained independence in 1990 and established its trademark protection system, companies rushed to register signs which had been used for goods in the Soviet Union. Over 20 years later, some of these marks may be at risk of invalidation if they include elements that are generic and non-distinctive.
Amendments to competition legislation allow chief executive officers (CEOs) to be held personally liable for infringements if they contribute to the organisation or implementation of an anti-competitive practice. The change is to be welcomed, but making CEOs liable for their employees' anti-competitive actions may prove too great a burden - not only for CEOs, but also for companies operating in small Lithuanian markets.
The Supreme Adminstrative Court has issued the first decision on damage claims against the Competition Authority. A claim for damages in respect of fines already paid will not be accepted if it is based solely on the annulment of the decision. However, the standard of proof required in demonstrating that the authority exceeded its legitimate powers is still ambiguous.
Disputes arising from contractual and other relations in the world of sport are normally settled by specialised sports arbitration bodies. A Court of Appeal decision recently raised the prospect that arbitration awards to settle disputes between professional sportspeople and their clubs might be ineligible for recognition and enforcement. However, the position of the courts now looks more reassuring.
According to Lithuanian copyright legislation, copyright and related rights holders whose rights have been infringed may seek recovery of material damages; alternatively, they may seek lump-sum (or statutory) damages up to twice the value of the licence fee or compensation. A recent Constitutional Court ruling casts new light on the criteria involved in calculating compensation.
A recent Supreme Court clarifies that the purpose of restitution in the context of a wrongful agreement is to limit the ability of a party acting with wrongful intent and in bad faith from benefitting from such conduct. Consequently, such a party must fully reimburse its contractual counterparty under an annulled contract, whereas a party that has acted in bad faith should not be reimbursed.
The regulation of IP rights in Lithuania is based on universally recognised principles of IP law. It distinguishes rights that must be duly registered from copyright and related rights, whereby works are immediately protection on their creation. Therefore, patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications require registration in order to receive legal protection.
One of the most positive aspects of the 2011 budget legislation is the revision to the Law on Immovable Property Tax. It allows for an individual valuation based on the impairment of immovable property value, instead of a mass valuation of the property. This allows companies to respond to market fluctuations by reducing the taxable base value of their property - a significant factor in improving the business environment.
Although the Supreme Court is essentially positive towards arbitration, its jurisprudence sometimes creates more surprise than stability. Although it seems clear that a court must refrain from assessing an arbitration clause if the question of the tribunal's jurisdiction is already a matter of contention in arbitration proceedings, it is less clear what approach a court may take if arbitral proceedings have not yet been initiated.
In considering an appeal arising from a dismissed claim for non-pecuniary damages, the Supreme Court has warned against an overly formalistic approach to statutory limitation periods. It referred to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights in stating that limitation rules cannot be applied without considering the circumstances of the legal relationship in question.
A dispute between a construction company and the developer of a residential tourism complex regarding liability for fire damage to the complex has led to two decisions by the Supreme Court. Among other things, the court has clarified the circumstances in which a fire may be said to constitute force majeure.
The Supreme Court has issued a decision which recognises the importance of representations and warranties when entering into share sale and purchase contracts. Its analysis helps to protect honest purchasers against fraudulent vendors or the unconscionable acts of their employees.