Joff Wild

The Mobile World Congress is held each year in Barcelona, Spain; and is the world’s largest gathering of companies in the mobile communications industry. It will take place in the Catalonian capital this year from 27th February to 2nd March. As usual, you can expect a number of new product launches and a wide array of technology, kit and other goods to be on display in the various exhibition centres in which businesses have paid a fortune to rent out space (yes, even more than they pay to exhibit at IPBC Global!).

As a result, you can also expect all kinds of entity – operating and non-operating - to be keeping a close look-out for potential IP infringements. With this in mind, the Barcelona courts have developed a fast-track protocol that, in some circumstances, enables rights owners to obtain preliminary injunctions preventing the exhibit of allegedly infringing items. The Spanish version of the protocol as it has been framed for 2017 can be seen via this link; below is an English language translation. Thanks are due to Josep Maria Pujals of Oficina Ponti in Barcelona for providing us with this information.      

ON-CALL AND FAST TRACK PROTOCOL OF THE MERCANTILE COURTS OF BARCELONA FOR THE MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2017

The Panel of Judges of the Mercantile Courts of Barcelona, within the framework of the Statute of the Mercantile Court of First Instance of Barcelona (approved through the agreement of 15 July 2014 by the Standing Committee of the General Council of the Judiciary), at its meeting on 25 November 2016,

1. STATES:

That from 27 February to 2 March 2017 the Mobile World Congress (abbreviated by its acronym MWC: http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/) will be held in Barcelona. This is an annual congress around the field of communication and mobile telephony, and is the most important in its sector, as it is the venue for showcasing a great number of global developments and innovations in wireless and mobile communications (technology patents); new mobile applications and, in general, state-of-the-art software (intellectual property rights); new designs for mobile devices and other computer and communication media [tablets, phablets, laptops, etc. (industrial design)]; and ultimately, it is a place where leading companies in computing, electronics and telecommunications come together and compete with each other.

AND HEREBY AGREES:

That in the event of any conflict that may exist between the companies participating in this event, as holders of intellectual and industrial property rights, and which give rise to the application for preliminary injunctions, as has occurred on previous occasions, in order to avoid, to the extent possible, adopting ex parte interim measures; and at the same time to ensure the adoption of effective measures to protect those rights, the Mercantile Judges of Barcelona have, for the third consecutive year and during February 2017 and the days of the event, established an on-call and fast track protocol in accordance with the following terms:

a) Granting preferential and priority processing to applications for urgent preliminary injunctions (with – inter partes – or without – ex parte – hearing the defendant) in relation to technological patents and industrial designs relating to products which are to be exhibited at this event, as well as acts of infringement of trademarks and copyrights, and unfair competition and unlawful advertising acts in relation to products and materials which are on display at the MWC.

b) We undertake to rule on the application for an ex parte preliminary injunction within two days, once the application has been received by the court; and within a deadline of ten days for ruling on preliminary injunctions with a notice of hearing, once the application has been received by the court, providing a protective letter has been submitted.

c) Within the framework of a possible conflict in issues of industrial or intellectual property with another company and in light of the reasonable fear of being subject to an application for an ex parte preliminary injunction, to accept the submission of protective letters to the Mercantile Courts of Barcelona, in order to avoid, to the extent possible, ex parte preliminary injunctions, which will allow, firstly, the defendant to put forward their arguments and, secondly, their willingness to appear before the Court immediately to rule on any request for ex parte preliminary injunctions.

d) To assess the urgency referred to in article 733 of the Spanish Civil Procedure Act (LEC) in the adoption of ex parte preliminary injunctions, unless this would compromise the success of the interim measure, the prior conduct of the claimant and the speed with which they have reacted to the knowledge of any infringement shall be a determining factor. In this regard, it is important that the application for urgent preliminary injunctions be submitted sufficiently in advance in good faith so as not to reasonably prevent hearing the defendant, when the owner of the right allegedly infringed would have had prior knowledge of the possible infringement and could have submitted their application in sufficient time.

2. HEREBY AGREES:

- To communicate and report the foregoing agreements and, in particular, concerning the preventive and ongoing on-call service, during business days and the public hearing timetables, throughout February 2017 and from 27 February to 2 March 2017 on the occasion of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, to the Governing Chamber of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and its Hon. President, for approval, if applicable, and for submission to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) for the same purposes.

- To communicate and report the foregoing agreements to the CGPJ for dissemination via the website of the CGPJ and the CGPJ Press Office, if applicable.