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Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

AG backs France against the Commission; peer-to-trade mark project?

The IPKat's scholarly friend Christopher Stothers sent him a little while ago a note on the Advocate General's Opinion in Case C-201/06 European Commission v France. This opinion has been posted on the Curia website in Slovene, Estonian and eight other minority languages including French, German, Italian and Spanish - but alas not in English. Christopher informs the Kat as follows:

"In essence, France requires that plant protection products (pesticides) have a common origin if they are to benefit from the simplified marketing authorisation process. If not, they have to go through the full authorisation process. The Commission took the view that this breached Articles 28-30 but the Advocate General has rejected the Commission's case and supported France (who were supported by the Netherlands).

This follows the ECJ's judgment in Case C-100/96 British Agrochemicals Association but is not consistent with the subsequent approach taken by the ECJ in relation to pharmaceuticals in Case C-112/02 Kohlpharma".
Many thanks, Chris!


While UKIPO is looking at the trade mark application process it might consider extending its upcoming patent peer review trial to cover trade marks as well. The United States Patent and Trademark Office first launched the 'Peer to Patent' trial earlier in the summer, and UKIPO is set to follow suit early in 2008 - but has anyone yet considered using this collaborative technology to bring similar expertise to the trade mark application process?

The IPKat's friend Martin Farley, who recently floated this idea at a meeting with OHIM (the EU's trade mark and design granting body) was surprised to find a high degree of interest. Martin said
"Using the peer review model could bring some benefits to a community trade mark application, particularly during the relative phase. If OHIM, with much greater restrictions on what it can use in reaching its decision on CTM applications, could consider a use for such community-wide collaboration, then there is no reason why UKIPO couldn't too."
Given that there is now a suggestion that peer review could become a compulsory feature of the patent application process in the USA, perhaps it is time to consider its value in other areas of the IP world. If anybody has come across similar plans made or ideas expressed by other IP bodies, why not let the IPKat know?

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