For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Litigating IP in the General Court: can anyone help?

Counsel are required to attend
the General Court properly attired
Last week, in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L68 of 7 March 2012, a document was published under the title "Practice directions to parties before the General Court". For the benefit of strangers to intellectual property litigation in Europe, the General Court is the junior part of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It hears appeals from Boards of Appeal of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) in relation to Community trade marks and registered Community designs. In addition, the General Court is the forum in which actions are brought when a party challenges a decision of the European Commission -- for example where the Commission investigates a complaint based on the abuse of a monopoly or distortion of the market -- and it is the tribunal before which actions for infringement of IP rights may be brought against the organs of the European Union themselves.

The Practice Directions published last week make a total of 17 references to intellectual property.  This Kat could simply cut and paste them here but, since he has never been involved in any General Court litigation and doesn't know how these Directions differ in their effect -- if indeed they do -- from their predecessors, he would really like to hear from some of his readers who practise before that court. Can they tell readers about the impact that the Directions are likely to have on the way IP disputes are litigated in terms of speed, cost, efficiency and, equally importantly, the ability of the court to deliver the right result?


Update, 13 March, 11.37am: a katpat to Simon Malynicz (3 New Square), who has emailed the Kat as follows:

"The main point to note is the new e-Curia service, which allows documents to be lodged in Luxembourg electronically without the need to provide them by post or courier. Previously this was possible by email or fax, provided the requisite number of certified hard copies arrived by courier or post within 10 days.
Details of how to use the e-Curia service are not set out in that Practice Direction, however, but are to be found in the separate e-Curia user manual, available at curia.europa.eu >General Court >Procedure. In summary, it is a free service available to lawyers (sorry, not trade mark or patent attorneys, even with rights of audience) that one opens by filling in a form on the Curia website. Documents are transmitted in PDF format. The Court then serves the other parties pleadings and responses using e-Curia also".

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