|Thinking outside the box|
can lead to surprises ...
|How can I ever think|
outside this blessed box ...?
The French company was sceptical both with regarding the procedure and the possible outcome, and both parties had a problem selecting an appropriate mediator. Looking extensively at the online CVs of the mediators on offer, expertise and language were the two principal criteria: ultimately two mediators were appointed, one a French-speaker, the other speaking Spanish. Then a mediation contract had to be concluded and a suitable representative of the French company designated (the Spanish company being represented by its manager). What about dates? Looking for a speedy resolution, the parties chose a single day -- though in hindsight two days would have been better (the single day ran from 9 am till nearly midnight).
|Mediation Day -- time to celebrate!|
Next up was Torsten Frey (European Commission, Policy Officer Competition and Industrial Policy, DG Enterprise and Industry), on "Mediation, arbitration and standard essential patents". Torsten explained the background to FRAND licensing and what a standard essential patent is, before embarking on the dispute resolution side of things. The rules that govern obligations as between different IP owners who share a standard, and also as between the IP owners and licensees, tend to be highly complex: this effects the manner in which disputes arising from them are tackled. It's not just the cost of resolving disputes that attracts the interest of DG Enterprise and Industry, but the outcome once the dispute is resolved. In the telecoms sector, the parties' patent portfolios are generally global in extent and vast in scale.
Wright Hassall) then took over the role of moderator and Michèle Weil-Guthmann (Mediator, Honorary Judge and Secretary General of the European Association of Judges for Mediation, GEMME) spoke to the subject of"Dealing with confidentiality, neutrality and other sensitive issues". Michèle emphasised the importance of confidentiality, noting also the draft Directive on Trade Secrecy [on which see Alberto's Katpost here] and the exceptions to it. To whom does the confidentiality apply in a mediation, Michèle asked, listing the various possible answers. Likewise, how far does the scope of confidentiality go? And does it apply in respect of documents that could be obtained outside the mediation too?
"Leave the Law outside the Door … Commercial Interests come first" was the last talk of the day, delivered by Fabienne van der Vleugel (Attorney-at-law Meaux, Brussels, New York Bars and Mediator, Vice President UIA World Forum Mediation Centres). This Kat's laptop battery died at this point, which is a pity since this is a hugely important topic which he looks forward to addressing separately in the not-too-distant future.