Latvia Enhances the Protection of the Intellectual Property Objects

Author: Evgenia Gainutdinova, Associated Partner, Latvian Patent, Trademark and Design Attorney, European Trademark and Design Attorney, Lawyer at METIDA

fotoSeeking to tackle the problems of Latvian law acts related to intellectual property, on 2 July 2015 the country passed a new Law on Industrial Property Institutions and Procedures.

The idea about necessity of new regulation of industrial property rights come into sight in early 2007, when a lot of problems were found out in the work of the Board of Appeals, where among others was the difficulties of application of administrative process for resolution of oppositions.

By introducing unified procedures for all industrial property objects and creating a quicker and more effective dispute resolution process, the law is expected to improve the protection of the industrial property objects. It will also pave the way to a new body – the Board of Appeals for Industrial Property.

The most important changes concern opposition and appeal procedures before Board of Appeals, namely:

  1. Written process is stated as mandatory, but oral proceeding will be also possible on following conditions:
  • Board of Appeals required
  • Upon request of one of parties and
  • Additional fee for oral proceeding should be paid (amount is not provided yet).

It is seen that said provisions on entering into practice in Latvia of written procedures is one more option for Patent attorneys as practitioners to provide best services for the right holders, because every case is individual and further it will be able to evaluate which kind of procedure is better to use.

2. Motivated reply to oppositions should be filed within 2 months instead of current 3 months time period.

3. All decisions of BoA could be appealed in accordance with Civil procedure provisions before the Riga Court of Vidzeme district within 3 months (amount is not provided yet).

This is a very long awaited provision for practitioners in Latvia, because previously all decisions of Board of Appeals were possible to appeal in Administrative Court only, on procedural grounds only. New law makes it possible further to appeal Board of Appeals decisions as regards it’s substance. Obviously, only practice will show how new order works and it’s benefits.

It should also be emphasized that referring to the Court with appeal claim on Board of Appeals decision will be regarded as absolutely new trial, but the Court might take into account facts and evidences found during opposition/appeal procedure before Board of Appeals and conclusions of Board of Appeals.

In addition, the new law gave rise to new regulations on patent attorneys’ qualified practice provided new name of the profession of patent attorney in Latvian language. Although it could not be translated into English language different then Patent attorney.

The Law on Industrial Property Institutions and Procedures will take effect on 1 January 2016, although the transitional period is provided for accomplishing procedure already started.

In order to reinforce the protection of the intellectual property rights, other amendments in legal acts (particularly in the Patent Law, Law on Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products, Law on Trademarks and Geographical Origin, Design Law, Law on Taxes and Fees, Law on Civil Process) are considered too as well new rulings of Cabinet of Ministers.

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