IP enforcement at MWC 2021: Fast Action Protocol

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The Mobile World Congress is back on track this year after being cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. This edition of the event, which will be held from 28 June to 1 July 2021, comes with a required change due to the current situation: it is now a hybrid event with in-person formats (taking place in Barcelona, as is tradition), as well as online formats.

Within the framework of the Congress, the Board of Judges of the Commercial Courts of Barcelona and Alicante have established, for yet another year, an On-Call Service and Fast Action Protocol that aims to resolve conflicts that may arise between holders of intellectual and industrial property rights during the event. As such, it includes effective measures to:

  • Protect patents and technological innovations, industrial designs, trademarks and copyrights which are to be exhibited at MWC 2021.
  • Defend free competition and prevent acts of unfair competition and unlawful advertising in relation to products and materials which are on display.

2021 Developments

To adapt the Protocol to the particular needs of online participation, the following measures have been agreed upon for the first time in the history of the MWC:

Preliminary injunctions and urgent proceedings

The preliminary injunctions and proceedings requested may include acts of presentation, exhibition, possession, promotion, or offering or sale made online and/or on any type of virtual platform provided by the congress organisation.

Hearings

Preference will be given to virtual hearings in the case of preliminary injunctions with a prior hearing, addressing and assessing the specific circumstances.

Urgent enforcement of preliminary injunctions and proceedings

The immediate physical enforcement of the preliminary injunctions and/or urgent proceedings adopted will be carried out by the State Security Forces and Corps, and in particular, by the Mossos d’Esquadra unit specialising in information technology.

Enforcement will be carried out under the supervision and direction of the Judge on duty, resolving any incident that may arise by telephone, with the Court Clerk documenting all proceedings.

Other measures

Specific actions that may be encouraged under the Protocol are the same that were included in the Protocol corresponding to the cancelled 2020 edition, and refer to the urgent processing of:

  • requests for preliminary injunctions;
  • requests for preliminary information and for verification of facts;
  • protective letters.

Moreover, the Protocol provides for the adoption of measures to safeguard the confidentiality of information that may constitute a trade secret. This is a new action that was already included in last year’s agreement with respect to the 2019 edition.

Validity of the Protocol

The preventive and ongoing on-call service will remain active during the entire month of June 2021, as well as on the days of the event (therefore ending on 1 July 2021), working days and during public hearing hours.

MWC information

During the MWC 2019 event, the following were submitted:

  • 38 protective letters,
  • 5 requests for verification of facts,
  • 6 requests for preliminary injunctions without a prior hearing.

In total, 50 cases were admitted and resolved under the implementation framework of the Protocol.

ABG IP at the Mobile World Congress 2021

At ABG IP, we offer technical and legal support before, during and after MWC 2021. In particular, we provide the following services:

  • Preventive advice to our clients, holders of industrial and 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:
    • Requesting preliminary injunctions
    • Requesting 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 industrial or intellectual property right requesting interim protection. We could help by:
    • Filing protective letters,
    • Conducting infringement and validity studies on industrial and 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 industrial and intellectual property rights in the context of the MWC.

ABG IP
ABG is a leading European IP firm. ABG’s more than 60 professionals combine experience, outstanding technical knowledge and deep legal expertise to be at the forefront of IP law.
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