Thursday, 9 July 2015

Barcelona makes special fast-track provision for MWC-related litigation

From our friend Ignacio Marqués Jarque (Abogado. IP/IT Baker & McKenzie Barcelona, S.L.P.) comes news of a fascinating development from Barcelona -- a special fast-track procedure that covers patents and the protection of confidential information as well as other species of intellectual property rights.  This is what he tells us:
IP specialized Commercial Courts of Barcelona (Spain) committed to provide quick relief during the Mobile World Congresses. A "rocket docket" by the Mediterranean?

Since 2006 and until 2018 (at least), Barcelona hosts the renowned Mobile World Congress (MWC) - which happens to be the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, with an average attendance of more than 90,000 professionals representing more than 200 countries from across the globe.

In order to protect IP rights in a timely and effective manner during the celebration of the MWC, the IP-specialized Commercial Courts of Barcelona have jointly agreed to create a sort of "fast track" to deal with IP-related interim relief applications generated within the context of the congress.

The timeframes considered by the Commercial Courts in Barcelona are ambitious, specially when compared with the standard duration of these kind of proceedings in Spain: it will be
1. two days to deal and resolve ex parte interim relief application and

2. ten days to do so in adversarial proceedings (the general rule in Spain is that parties are summoned to attend a specific hearing to discuss the merits of the sought relief).
In order for these timeframes to be effective, the plaintiff needs a specific protective letter -- in Spanish, "escrito preventivo"-- previously filed and recorded within the Barcelona Commercial Courts (please see this post on this issue in Spanish patent litigation).

Why is the recordation of a protective letter a pre-requisite for accessing the "fast track"? According to the resolution of the Commercial Courts of Barcelona, the filing and recordation of a protective letter (i) lets the Court learn the arguments of the alleged infringer (even if the IP owner asks for the application to be specifically processed ex parte), and (ii) secures the alleged infringer's readiness to attend the interim relief hearing within a short timeframe (in case the Court decides that it wants to hear the parties before taking any decision).

These measures were approved with the occasion of the 2015 edition of the MWC, and will be probably re-established for future editions.
It would be good to know if any other jurisdictions make special event-related arrangements for speedy IP litigation.  If readers have any information, we hope that they will share it with us.

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