ECTA conference preview: trademarks in motion


ECTA conference preview: trademarks in motion

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Fresh from the implementation of several EU trademark reforms this year, the European Communities Trade Mark Association is focusing on their impact at its 2016 annual conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from June 22 to 25.

 “It’s the most important one for ECTA. It’s the annual conference—more than half of our members will attend, and it is usually known as a good networking opportunity for EU practitioners, either in-house or outside counsel,” says Peter Müller, president of ECTA, of the conference.

ECTA has more than 30 years’ experience promoting its members’ knowledge and professionalism and is recognised by the European Commission, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), formerly known as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market.

The annual conference has been running since 1982 and the organisation now expects between “700 and 850” of its members to attend this year’s event.

“The conferences of ECTA are known among peers for their excellent speeches and lectures, so a lot of people attend our conference because they learn the newest developments in trademark law and design law, and a little bit of copyright law.

“Usually we have representatives from the EUIPO and WIPO and they give us updates on new databases and procedures,” Müller explains.

The conferences are “more family-like” because delegates tend to attend the same sessions.

ECTA also holds a lunch and dinner every day, which saves delegates having to “rush back and forth from one appointment to the next, something our members appreciate”.

Some sessions to watch out for, according to Ruta Olmane, first vice president, include “The European trademark legislative package”, on Thursday, June 23, from 11:30am to 13:00pm. Max Oker-Blom, ECTA secretary general, is the moderator, and panellists will discuss the new legislation, which came into force in March this year.

“This is a very important issue and there is more than one session dedicated to this question.”

After a lunch break, discussion around the trademark legislative package session continues from 14:30pm to 15:45pm and is moderated by ECTA council member Imogen Wiseman.

Another notable session features Joe Cohen, chair of the ECTA Anti-Counterfeiting Committee. The session, which centres on “Anti-counterfeiting and enforcement—impacts of the trademark reform and more”, is from 16:15pm to 17:30pm. Among highly experienced speakers will be Nicole Semjevski from the EUIPO, who will speak about Enforcement Database.

Parallel meetings

“For the first time we are trying to introduce some new issues for our conference. In parallel sessions we have several topics which are very important and interesting, such as copyright reform and prior right agreement questions,” Olmane explains.

These parallel sessions take place on Friday, June 24, from 9:00am to 11:00am; the first discusses “Copyright: the European copyright reform and the digital agenda for Europe” and the second is “Prior right agreements—pitfalls and ploys”.

Speakers in these sessions include Niklas Bruun from the Hanken School of Economics, and Clemens Heusch, head of European litigation at Nokia.

“There will be a session about China issues and a special session dedicated to WIPO questions,” Olmane says.

The sessions, “China at a glance: from Europe to China: intellectual property key, the Chinese trademark reform and other related IP matters” and “WIPO—how to file a global trademark without national objections”, are from 11:30am to 13:00pm on Friday.

“All in all, the programme will be very interesting,” Olmane says.

According to Müller, the parallel sessions are part of ECTA’s strategic goals for 2020.“One of our aims is to broaden our expertise.

“The parallel sessions are both interrupted by a coffee break, so during the coffee break people could switch into the other room. This will be a trial run and hopefully it will work out,” he says.

Notable speakers include Antonio Campinos, executive director at the EUIPO, who the organisers are “quite proud” to have attending as he will not be visiting many other conferences this year.

“Professor Annette Kur is also an interesting person because she’s well known abroad for her expertise in IP and she was one of the producers of the survey which has been used before the European trademark reform started,” says Müller.

Sylvie Harding from Chanel and Nastassia Saint-Séverin from Procter & Gamble are also expected to speak at the event.

“We try to engage not only practitioners, who are the main speakers in our conferences, but officials and persons from academia and industry as well,” Olmane says.

WIPR is a partner of this conference. For more details visit:

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