INTA and WIPO Traditional Knowledge Division to Further Strengthen Cooperation

Published: March 15, 2018

Brexit: IP Finally Emerges in Discussions

Twenty months after the “Brexit” referendum, with negotiations having been formally under way since March 2017, intellectual property (IP) is at long last being addressed as part of the negotiation process. In its draft Withdrawal Agreement, published on February 28, which deals with issues relating to the “divorce” between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK), the EU Commission included a dedicated Title IV (Articles 50‒57), which covers “intellectual property.” Trademarks, designs, geographical indications, databases, and even plant variety rights are addressed. The main principle put forward by the Commission in this IP title is “continued protection in the United Kingdom of registered or granted rights.” This draft will serve as a basis for the negotiations for the EU and will have to be addressed by the UK negotiators in order to agree on a final common text.

INTA has stepped up its efforts by setting up a high-level delegation composed of INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo; Board of Directors Member Philippa McLeod (Rolls-Royce plc, UK); Mireille Valvason (Novartis, Switzerland); Jeremy Newman (Rouse, UK, Vice-Chair of INTA’s Anticounterfeiting Committee); and INTA Chief Representative Officer ‒ Europe Hélène Nicora, to meet with UK authorities in London from February 26 to 28. The delegation met with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, Justice Arnold, the Chartered Institute for Trade Marks Attorneys, and the Chartered Institute for Patent Attorneys. INTA’s delegation promoted its Brexit position paper, adopted by the Board in November 2017, and insisted that most IP-related issues, since they were neither controversial nor political, could be resolved relatively easily and quickly. However, failure to address them in a timely and appropriate manner could trigger adverse effects for businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, and consumers operating in or with the UK.

It is now up to the EU and UK negotiators to take up these issues. The discussions on this draft withdrawal agreement (the “divorce phase”) will occur in parallel to the negotiations on the “future relationship.” The latter are due to start after the adoption of the EU mandate during the EU27 Summit in Brussels, March 22‒23.

INTA will be back in London at the end of March to attend meetings organized by the UKIPO on Brexit and the implementation of the EU Trade Marks Directive, and a roundtable with the minister in charge of IP.

INTA Meets with Government Officials in Brussels to Promote Its Active Role in Africa

From March 5 to 9, INTA Representative for Africa and the Middle East, Tat-Tienne Louembe, visited Brussels to hold meetings, together with the Europe Office, with EU government officials. Meetings were held with the European Commission’s Directorate-Generals for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), International Trade (DG TRADE), and Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), with the ambassadors of Ethiopia and Mauritius to the European Union; and, in the European Parliament, with policy advisors and MEPs involved in the parliamentary committee on “international trade.”

The objectives of such meetings were to strengthen INTA’s network on Africa in Brussels, as well as to explain INTA’s footprint and involvement in Africa while offering support to the promotion and protection of brands in the region.

Europe Office Attends a Dedicated Event on Illicit Trade and Counterfeiting Organized by DG TRADE

On March 9, Ms. Nicora and Policy Officer Hadrien Valembois attended the European Commission’s DG TRADE event on “Countering illicit trade with a special focus on counterfeiting,” which included presentations by DG TRADE, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EU Joint Research Center. The topics discussed will be followed up during the upcoming meeting of the OECD’s Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade in Paris from March 15 to 16. Myrtha Hurtado-Rivas (Novartis, Switzerland, Vice-Chair of the Anticounterfeiting Committee) and Mr. Valembois will attend.

INTA Presents Internationalization Strategy at the European Association Summit

Ms. Nicora gave a presentation describing INTA’s Strategic Plan, and describing the challenges and successes INTA has had in its quest to become a truly global association at the sixth European Association Summit on March 8 and 9. The Summit is a peer-to-peer education forum for European and non-European association representatives. It provided an opportunity for INTA’s Europe Representative Office to network with other associations in the context of INTA’s efforts to build bridges with the non-IP community.

ECTA’s Workshop on New Technologies and IP Rights

On March 7, INTA Europe Office Policy Officer Carolina Oliveira attended the Workshop on New Technologies and Intellectual Property Rights given by the European Communities Trademark Association (ECTA), gathering EU stakeholders and government officials. The afternoon program featured interesting sessions on 3D printing and blockchain technology, and how these two new realities interact with IP rights.

Moscow Roundtable Discusses Innovation and IP

On February 28 in Moscow, Europe Office Advisor Milesh Gordhandas presented INTA’s Strategic Plan and its focus on embracing “Innovation and Change” at the roundtable on “What Innovation Means for Brand Owners” and Pre‒Annual Meeting Reception, which was organized by Gowling WLG. (See a more detailed report here.)

INTA’s Europe Representative Office, based in Brussels, Belgium, represents the Association’s 1,800+ members across Europe (including those in EU and non-EU member states, and Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States). Working in collaboration with staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City, the Europe Representative Office leads the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives throughout the region. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Europe, please contact INTA Chief Europe Representative Officer Hélène Nicora at [email protected] and follow us on Twitter at @INTABrussels.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2018 International Trademark Association