MWC 2023: the courts renew their commitment to swift action in industrial property cases

This post is also available in: Spanish

A new edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2023) will be held once again in Barcelona from 27 February to 2 March 2023. Like last year, the congress will bring together leading companies in the field of telecommunications, IT and electronics that, as usual, will take the opportunity to launch innovative products (wireless and mobile communications, state-of-the-art software, etc.) worldwide.

Industrial Property rights are key to the success of these technological innovations on the market and that is why, for the ninth and fifth consecutive year, respectively, the Boards of Judges of the Commercial Courts of Barcelona and Alicante have established the On-Call Service and Rapid-Response Protocol which will be in force during the month of February 2023 and on the days when the event takes place.

Preferential and priority processing in case of infringement of IP rights and defence

The document that was recently made public contains few changes compared to its predecessors and its importance continues to lie in the speed of proceedings. Thus, in the event that a holder ascertains the infringement of the industrial property rights of third parties or it is suspected that a claim will be filed for infringement of rights when there are no reasonable grounds, the Protocol establishes a series of specific actions to be carried out within very short deadlines:

  • The term for ruling on requests for preliminary information and/or verification of facts for Industrial Property rights is established at 48 hours.
  • Urgent preliminary injunctions (with or without a hearing) that involve IP rights will also be resolved in 48 hours when they are requested without holding a hearing with the defendant, and within a maximum of 10 days once a hearing has been set, provided that a protective letter has been filed.
  • The acceptance of requests for protective letters, in the framework of a possible conflict in matters of intellectual property and in view of the reasonable fear of being the subject of a request for preliminary injunctions without a hearing, will be resolved on the same day of its filing (24 hours).

Likewise, the courts undertake to adopt the specific measures necessary to safeguard the confidentiality of information that may constitute a trade secret and they ensure the effectiveness of the adopted decisions by establishing a framework for communication and cooperation between the Commercial Court of Barcelona and the European Union Trademark Courts of Alicante in matters of European Union trademarks and community designs.

As a new feature, the immediate implementation of the aforementioned measures will be extended to the metaverse, any other environment and/or virtual world, and to online platforms.

Expectations regarding IP cases at MWC 2023

In previous editions of the Mobile World Congress, the volume of processing requests for protective letters and resolving preliminary injunction procedures, as well as inquiries to substantiate facts, has always been quite high taking into account the Protocol’s short duration. However, in last year’s edition, the number of cases filed compared to the 2021 edition dropped by 44%.

This decrease is clearly caused by the pandemic situation which had not been fully overcome in the previous edition. In the current situation, however, it is expected that the number of cases filed (specifically, protective letters) in 2023 will return to the figures prior to the pandemic. It should be noted that in 2019, 50 cases in the Protocol implementation framework were admitted and resolved.

ABG IP at MWC 2023

At ABG IP, we offer technical and legal support before, during and after MWC 2023. In particular, we provide the following services:

  • Preventive advice to holders of intellectual property rights, when detecting exhibitors who may be exhibiting devices at their stand which infringe their rights. We can also provide guidance about adopting legal measures aimed at securing evidence and putting an end to acts of infringement, by:
    • Filing requests for preliminary injunctions
    • Filing requests for preliminary information and verification of facts
  • Preventive advice to exhibitors when adopting measures aimed at reducing the risk of withdrawal, in whole or in part, of the devices displayed at their stand, which may occur as a result of a third-party holder of an intellectual property right requesting interim protection. We could help by:
    • Filing protective letters,
    • Conducting infringement and validity studies on intellectual property rights of third parties, as well as essentiality studies on patents that are allegedly essential for some technical standard.

ABG Intellectual Property’s Legal Department has extensive experience in defending intellectual property rights in the context of the MWC. For any queries, please contact us by email at abg_legal@abg-ip.com.

Clara Carranza
Clara is a lawyer, with a double degree in Spanish & French Law from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas-ICADE. She specialises in intellectual property law and emerging technologies. Her practice focuses on providing legal advice on the protection of intangible assets (copyright, patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, business secrets and new technologies).
Clara Carranza on Linkedin

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