Industrial Property / Intellectual Property / Intellectual Property / Propiedad Industrial

Intellectual Property Fast Action Protocol for the Mobile World Congress 2022

Sonia Sarroca Suñer

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One more year, Barcelona is about to become the world capital of technology thanks to the new edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), that will take place from 28th February to 3rd March 2022.

Faced with the possibility of conflicts that might arise between the companies participating in this event, the Barcelona Commercial Courts (for the eighth consecutive year) and the European Union Trade Mark Court of Alicante (for the fourth consecutive year) have jointly adopted a Protocol of guard service and fast action with the purposes of giving adequate protection to holders of intellectual and industrial property rights, as well as avoiding, as far as possible, the adoption of preliminary injunctions without a hearing of the defendant.

The commitments are substantially as follows:

  1. Priority and preferential processing to pre-trial examination requests (diligencias preliminares) and saisie-contrefaçons requests (diligencias de comprobación de hechos) related to patents, technological innovations and industrial designs, as well as to acts of trademark and copyright infringement, antitrust, acts of unfair competition and unlawful advertising acts regarding products and materials which will be on display.
  2. Priority and preferential processing of urgent preliminary injunctions (with or without a prior hearing of the defendant) having as their object the above-referred rights and acts.
  3. To decide within 2 days (48h) pre-trial examination requests (diligencias preliminares), saisie-contrefaçons requests (diligencias de comprobación de hechos) and requests for preliminary injunctions without a hearing of the defendant. To decide within 10 days preliminary injunctions requests with a hearing of the defendants, provided that they have previously filed a protective letter.
  4. To decide on the admission of protective letters within 24h from their filing, in order to avoid, to the extent possible, the adoption of preliminary injunctions without a hearing of the defendant.
  5. In order to assess the urgency of the adoption of precautionary measures without a hearing of the defendant, the prior conduct of the plaintiff and the speed with which he reacted to the knowledge of the possible infringement shall be decisive.
  6. To adopt, ex officio or at a party’s request, any necessary measures to protect trade secrets, in accordance with the new Spanish Law 1/2019 on Trade Secrets, the EU Directive 2016/943 and the special Protocol for the Protection of Trade Secrets approved by the Commercial Courts of Barcelona.
  7. Immediate enforcement by the Barcelona Commercial Courts of the preliminary injunctions and/or urgent measures that, within the scope of its specific competence, the European Union Trade Mark and Community Designs Courts in Alicante order.

According to the Results Report for 2021, in that edition a total of 18 cases were admitted and resolved within the framework of application of the Protocol, a decrease of 36% with respect to the cases filed in 2019. The notable decrease in the cases filed is clearly due to the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the hybrid format (in person and virtual) of the Mobile World Congress 2021.

In the hope that normality is returning to the event, it will be key for both intellectual property rights holders and potential defendants to plan the legal strategy for the Mobile World Congress 2022 in advance to ensure that attendance at the event is a great success.