New act set to bring significant changes to IP proceedings
On January 1 2016 the new Industrial Property Institutions and Procedures Act will enter into force in Latvia, bringing some significant changes to IP procedures in the country.
The new law will introduce a unified set of administrative procedure rules for all types of IP rights, as opposed to a separate set of rules, which is currently in force.
Under the new law, the period of time for trademark applicants to reply to an opposition has been reduced from three to two months. Currently, there are mainly oral hearings in opposition and appeal proceedings; these will be replaced by a written exchange of arguments, with the possibility of having an oral hearing if one of the parties requests it or if the Board of Appeals decides that it is necessary. In addition, if the dispute is settled before the deadline to reply to an opposition expires, the new law provides for the reimbursement of 50% of the opposition fees.
Appeal proceedings will also undergo some major changes, as they will no longer be dealt with within an administrative procedure, but will be subject to separate de novo civil court proceedings.
The law will also introduce new obligations and rights for patent and trademark attorneys. These obligations and rights have yet to be explicitly stated.
Andrej Bukovnik, PETOŠEVIĆ, Ljubljana
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