Monday, 26 August 2013

Austria tidies up appeals against office decisions

Austria has recently introduced a system of new provincial administrative courts which, it is said, will affect administrative provisions in several intellectual property statutes, including Austria's Patent Act and Act on Utility Models. The amendments mainly concern the reorganisation of appeal procedures. Currently, appeals against decisions of the Patent Office's technical and legal departments are raised with the Office's complaint department, whose decisions can be challenged, as can the decisions of the nullification department (which handles nullification applications) with the Supreme Patent and Trade Mark Board.

However, with effect from 1 January 2014, everything will be different. Following dissolution of the Office's complaint department, the Patent Office will handle only first instance proceedings, and appeals against decisions of the Office's technical, legal and nullification departments will be filed with the Vienna Higher Regional Court. Decisions of the Vienna Appellate Court can still be challenged before the Supreme Court -- but only if stringent prerequisites for appeal are satisfied.

Parties may be represented at the Patent Office and the Vienna Higher Regional Court by attorneys, patent attorneys and notaries public, but only attorneys have the right of audience in Supreme Court proceedings.

Source: note by Ferdinand Graf and Claudia Csáky (Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH), published by International Law Office

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