ELZABURU Blog - Industrial and Intellectual Property

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Three lawyers from ELZABURU selected to form part of a new council of experts that will advise the Chinese government on IP matters

This new year 2020, China is launching a centre called the Chinese Overseas Intellectual Property Dispute Response Guidance Centre, which aims to bring together professionals from different countries who are experts in intellectual property to provide guidance on matters relating to this field. The centre has been established by the Chinese Patent and Trademark Office (CNIPA), which is the largest Office of its kind in the world, with a workforce of more than 20,000 employees.

 

The 75 experts who now form part of this centre were selected by means of a worldwide public merit-based competition. Of the 35 foreign professionals who will be participating in this initiative, 6 are Spanish, and 3 of them are lawyers from ELZABURU: Manuel DesantesEnrique Armijo Chávarri and Colm Ahern.

The CNIPA’s aim with this initiative is to provide guidance for resolving possible conflicts relating to intellectual property: on the one hand, to safeguard the rights of Chinese entities abroad and, on the other, to gain a better understanding of the intellectual property systems and rules of overseas jurisdictions.

As Manuel Desantes explains in an interview for Confilegal, the biggest problem encountered by Chinese companies seeking to expand internationally is a lack of knowledge of different countries’ legal systems. Therefore, this advice will be essential to dispel doubts and avoid future conflicts. Moreover, thanks to the cooperation of these experts, Chinese entities will be in a better position to defend themselves in the event that any foreign company infringes their intellectual property rights.

Through the creation of new channels for obtaining and distributing information on intellectual property disputes abroad, the centre aims to establish a guidance and coordination mechanism for handling IP disputes involving Chinese companies.

As China is the world’s leading force in intellectual property, it is hoped that this project will serve as an example for other countries with regard to avoiding conflicts and disputes, thereby improving legal certainty and international commercial relations, concludes Desantes.

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

Myanmar: Upcoming opening, in January 2020, of a “Soft Opening” period for owners of trademarks recorded at the Office of Registration of Deeds

After almost a year of work and preparations to define the scope and the implementation of the new Law, contrary to expectations, the Myanmar authorities have decided to open a prior transitional period in which those parties that have recorded a Declaration of Ownership (DTO) at the Office of Registration of Deeds (ORD) may file their trademark within a preferential term of 6 months prior to the official opening of the Trademark Register. This term has been designated a “Soft Opening period and its purpose is to enable holders of recorded DTOs to try to obtain a certain degree of priority.

While there is no official opening date for the “Soft Opening” period and many issues remain with regard to this procedure (for example, the amounts of the official fees are not yet known and it is not known whether powers of attorney must be legalized up to the Consul), it is expected to open in January 2020. Assuming that this date is met and there are no delays, those trademark owners who are entitled to and wish to take advantage of the “Soft Opening” period, will have until July 2020 to file their trademarks, while the Register will officially open for any interested parties in July. Any holders of recorded DTOs who have not taken advantage of the “Soft Opening” period will lose this preferential option and will have to file for registration to obtain their trademark rights once the Register has officially opened in the second half of the year.

In light of the above, there are three possible scenarios:

  1. Trademark owners with recorded DTOs. These owners are entitled to file their trademarks in the Register during the “Soft Opening” period, upon payment of a fee and compliance with all the formal requirements to attest to their ownership.
  1. Trademark owners who do not hold a recorded DTO. They could, up to the end of December 2019, try to record a DTO before the “Soft Opening” period opens, with a view to subsequently filing the mark within that preferential period. To that end, it is necessary to pay an official fee and satisfy all the formal requirements.
  1. Those interested parties who, from the opening of the Myanmar Trademark Register in the second half of 2020, wish to file an ex novo trademark application without any prior preferential right, under the provisions of the new Law.

In light of the above, and bearing in mind the short period of time remaining before the opening of the “Soft Opening” period and that it may be necessary to have powers of attorney legalized up to the Consul, it would be advisable for those trademark owners with interests in Myanmar to seek urgent advice to evaluate the steps to be taken in each situation.

In case it may be of interest to you, we are attaching a link to earlier information on the new Law in Myanmar: “Myanmar: first to file trademark system

Author:  Cristina Arroyo and Juan Miguel Sáinz de Marles

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

Elzaburu once again shows its support for innovation as IP & IT advisors in the 2019 everis Awards

On 28 November 2019, the everis Foundation held its Global everis Awards 2019 ceremony, recognising innovation and technological entrepreneurship, with the participation of the national award winners in 10 European and Latin American countries.

Elzaburu, Spain’s oldest and most prestigious law firm specializing in the protection of intangible assets, participated in the awards organized by the everis Foundation as IP and IT advisors to the six Spanish finalists and the ten international finalists, as part of its continued commitment to innovation.

Navarre native Juan Abascal, representing Spain, was the winning entrepreneur with his WasherCapTM project. It was competing against other projects such as a brain device for recovering hand mobility after a stroke, an intelligent coating to prevent the collapse of buildings during an earthquake, or a system for eliminating pathogens from water without using chemical processes.

Juan Abascal, winner of the everis Spain Award 2019 with a prize of 30,000 euros, additionally received 60,000 euros as the international winner, as well as mentoring by a team of specialists from the everis group.

Participation by the firm Elzaburu.

Elzaburu’s participation in the awards provided, among other advantages,  mentoring of the six Spanish finalists and an evaluation of the merits of these six finalist projects in the Spanish competition from an industrial and intellectual property perspective, to assist the jury in determining the degree of innovation of the product or service, the strength of the barriers to entry into the corresponding commercial sectors, as well as the scope for industrial and intellectual property protection.

Elzaburu also held an IP and IT immersion workshop for the 10 international finalists, conducted by the expert Alba María López, Associate Partner and member of the firm’s Legal & Business Department. Furthermore, vis-a-vis meetings were held with the diplomatic delegations of the finalists’ respective countries, enabling them to explore the possibilities of international expansion.

Visit our website: https://www.elzaburu.es/en/  

United Arab Emirates reduces its official fees in relation to IP rights

Great news for holders of trademark rights and IP professionals interested in the United Arab Emirates. 

The high costs of this jurisdiction, one of the world’s most complex economies and also one of the countries in the Arabian peninsula offering most opportunities for foreign investment, have often proven to be an obstacle to the internationalization of trademarks and a decisive factor in decision-making with regard to the management and maintenance of trademark portfolios.

The Middle East has for some time been one of the most expensive regions in the world for protection of IP rights.

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar) has worked hard to integrate, unify and standardize areas of the economy, finance, trade and customs, the laws of its members, among other aspects, and all of these efforts have also had an impact in the field of trademarks. One of the major milestones in the field of IP, not only in the GCC countries but in the Middle East and the territories of the region, was the issuance of the GCC Implementing Regulations. In this context of forging closer links between these countries, in the past few years we have seen reductions in tariffs and bureaucracy in neighbouring countries such as Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait which have facilitated and simplified the procedures for registering trademarks.

While not all of the fees relating to trademarks have been reduced in the United Arab Emirates (for example, the cost of preparing documentation and attending to formal requirements remains very high), the fees for registration and renewal have been reduced, which will facilitate matters with regard to portfolio management and decision-making.

Authors: Cristina ArroyoJuan M. Sáinz de Marles
Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/

Chatbots make it to the Spanish legal sector: Elzaburu presents ELZABOT

Chatbots have been one of the hottest topics in the Legal Tech world in recent months.

Chatbots, or virtual assistants, are not the most cutting-edge development in the field of artificial intelligence (there are already more established examples, such as Siri, Alexa or Google Now), but they do represent a new technological option in the legal field.

There are not many examples of legal field chatbots in the world and most, if not all of them, are programmed in English or other languages.

In line with its commitment to innovation, ELZABURU has been developing Legal Tech solutions for several years to meet the needs of its clients and enhance its internal work processes. Thus, ElzaBot came into being with the aim of becoming a benchmark in the Spanish-speaking Legal Tech field.

ElzaBot is a legal sector chatbot which offers clients and users of ELZABURU’s website the possibility of obtaining information on the firm and answers to basic questions on industrial and intellectual property and new technologies.

The aim is to open a new channel of client-lawyer communication, creating a closer and more informal conversation and interaction environment.

ElzaBot aims to improve the digital experience of clients and provide information on the services Elzaburu offers, guiding users towards the most appropriate advice for their problem or query.

ElzaBot was developed with cooperation from the Alicante-based company 1millionbot (https://1millionbot.com/), one of the rising stars of the Alicante innovation sector and its “Digital District” project, specializing in the development of conversational bots, and with the continuous support of numerous professionals of the firm who provided content and tested the tool.

To develop and perfect the tool, it was necessary to determine not only which subjects ElzaBot could address but also the conversational tone and style, given that the legal sector has a very specific target group and specialized language. Therefore, the aim was to make the conversations informal and simple, while maintaining the necessary legal rigour.

Like any other chatbot, ElzaBot has a continuous learning system which enables it to adapt its responses to the demands of its users and will enable it to broaden and enhance content over time.

ElzaBot is available on ELZABURU’s website: https://www.elzaburu.es/

Authors: Pilar SorianoElisa Prieto
Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/

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