Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee: Experts Highlight Need to Raise Awareness of Mediation Method

Published: February 15, 2019

Diana Jennen Cuatrecasas Madrid, Spain

INTA, in collaboration with Cuatrecasas (Spain), held a roundtable on January 24 in Madrid, Spain, on trademark dispute mediation in Europe from the perspective of intellectual property institutions that provide mediation services.

The session, an initiative of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee and moderated by Cuatrecasas Partner Jorge Llevat, analyzed European institutions’ mediation experiences and familiarized attendees with mediation proceedings. Moreover, the speakers mainly focused on why mediation is not very popular in Europe and how to bolster its use as an alternative dispute resolution method.

Javier FernÁndez-Lasquetty, partner at Elzaburu (Spain) and a panelist of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, part of the World Intellectual Property Organization, noted that 70 percent of mediations end in an agreement, while the other cases that go on to arbitration have a 40 percent success rate. “The parties reconsider their positions and, in the end, they do not go to court,” he said.

Mediator Théophile Margellos, President of the Boards of Appeal, Head of the Boards of Appeal Mediation Service, European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), said he does not understand why so few of the large number of lawsuits in Europe go to mediation. He noted that of more than 200 mediation recommendations the Boards of Appeal sent to parties, one of the parties rejected the mediation in 183 cases.

“We want to analyze the reasons why certain parties do not want to use mediation. Why do parties accept conciliation, proposed by the conciliator, more than mediation, which is a more impartial and confidential process? Can this be explained by a lack of trust and awareness?” Dr. Jur. Margellos said.

Sven Stürmann, a mediator at EUIPO and Chairperson of the 2nd Board of Appeal, stated that pre-dispute negotiation is often considered an obstacle to mediation. However, he assured attendees that it was quite the opposite, noting: “Those are ideal cases for mediation because they are already in an advanced state. And the expenses are not excessive.”

The panelists concluded that there is a need to inform both lawyers and the potential parties to a lawsuit about the reliability and effectiveness of mediation as a means of avoiding court procedures.

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