From February 26th to 1st March, the latest Mobile World Congress will take place in Barcelona. For the fourth consecutive year, the Judges of the Commercial Courts of the city, anticipating the foreseeable entry of issues related to infringements of intellectual property rights and especially patents and designs, have agreed on the implementation of a special duty service and fast-action Protocol (http://www.oepm.es/export/sites/oepm/comun/documentos_relacionados/Noticias/2017/2017_12_18_Protocolo_MWC_2018.pdf). This has the triple purpose of prioritizing during those days (and during February) the treatment of preliminary injunctions (and other interim measures), avoiding as far as possible their adoption without hearing the other party (ex parte), and ensuring the granting of effective measures to protect those rights.
The so-called Preventive Letters, formally implemented in the Spanish Patent Law 24/2015, in force since April 2017, hold a special relevance, mainly to prevent the granting of preliminary injunctions ex parte. By submitting such writs before the Court deemed competent, those who foresee being the subject of an application for ex parte interim relief, may anticipate and try to avoid its granting without being heard, duly justifying their arguments, and showing at the same time their availability to appear with immediacy at the Courts.
The said “preventive letter” will be communicated to the owner of the allegedly infringed right, and if finally a request for ex parte preliminary injunctions is presented, the Court will decide already knowing in advance the arguments of the potential defendant. The same Protocol gives the guidelines to the right-holders to justify properly in their claim the “special urgency” that must concur for the adoption of such measures without hearing the defendant.
According to the “Report on the result of the a special duty service and fast- action protocol of the Mercantile Courts of Barcelona” for MWC 2017, during the last Congress, 12 preventive letter related to patents were submitted, which were processed and resolved before the celebration of the Congress, and 7 requests for ex parte preliminary injunctions, 4 of which being granted. This consolidates the effectiveness and efficiency of this initiative promoted by the Commercial Courts of the city to give an answer to these matters in an event of such magnitude and remarkable economic interests.
The forecast for this year’s Congress is an increase in filing both preventive letters and ex parte preliminary injunctions, having considered also the introduction of improvements to allow a faster communication with lawyers and attorneys with full guarantees of defense and legal certainty.
If you plan to attend the MWC and have any questions about how to effectively protect your rights or how to defend yourself against a possible request for preliminary injunctions, you can contact us. Antoni Romani, lawyer and partner of our Office, has been been included in the list of experts in Intellectual Property and Unfair competition created by the Lawyer’s Bar Association of Barcelona that will be included in the documentation offered to all exhibitors. He will be available to assist clients in preliminary injunctions for infringements of IP rights, also in filing protective letters and, in general, in all the actions related to the referred Protocol.