Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Sally Cooper in Munich finding that Small is Beautiful

Munich ? December ? Trade Marks ?
From Heather Cowper

But surely Munich = EPO ?

And surely Munich / December = Christmas Markets ?

YES - but Munich in December in 2014 was logo host-City for INTA’s last Conference of the year : “When Trademarks Overlap with Other IP Rights”. The Conference took place in the nicely-named district of Arabellapark. As cold and dense fog were the order of the day, around 350 or so persons eschewed walks in the park – they sensibly stayed indoors and diligently followed proceedings. This is true. From 9.00am on Monday 8th to 6.00pm on Tuesday 9th the focus of interaction was the Conference Hall. A heavy first day worked through “Trademarks and Copyright Law” and “Trademarks and Designs” and a heavy second day worked through “Trademarks and Geographical Indications” and “Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law” and “Trademarks and The Right of Publicity”. For me, the glue that held these Sessions together was the format of a full-time academic beginning the Session and “perspective” Speakers following. There was surprisingly little repetition and a lot of learning and a lot of fun : well done to all Moderators ! Along the way I learned about the Skydisk of Nebra  decision from Germany and the Tripp Trapp chair decision from the CJEU  and Darjeeling Lingerie (a Decision in favour of the Indian GI for tea in Taiwan but a Decision against the Indian GI for tea in Israel) and was given a wake-up-call on what we all (as IP lawyers) owe to the Paris Convention (1883) and the Berne Convention (1886).

Mr Campinos Thanks to Mladen Vukmir
The Conference ended – appropriately - with Antonio Campinos (President of OHIM) looking forward to (amongst many other things) a reduction in fees for users of the Fast-Track Trade Mark Application procedure. And slotted into proceedings was a short (VIP Interview) Session on Trademarks and Patents : yes – we were in Munich after all ! And right at the beginning / present throughout was Jeremy Phillips. He introduced himself as the gypsy violinist – in attendance as Keynote Speaker trusting thereby to enhance the experience of those partaking of the (Conference) feast. He reported just about all of the Conference proceedings on the IPKat blog “in real time” (thereby – to the relief of this writer - making further reporting on content redundant). Indeed, I suspect Jeremy pressed the “post” button on his Address “Overlaid, Overlegislated and Overloaded: Trademarks in the Twenty-First Century” before his Address began (so quickly did it appear on Twitter #INTAMunich) !.

For me, there were two “take-aways”. The first was the pleasure of being at a Conference where trade marks were “a given” : the focus was firmly on the many other IP rights that work alongside trade marks (sometimes overlapping / sometimes not) and Speakers from across the world should be congratulated on underscoring the significant “education” task confronting INTA’s Related Rights Committee. The second is in my notes of the concluding remarks of OHIM’s President Antonio Campinos : that “the majority of businesses are small – not large”. Thank goodness someone said this!

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