You are recognised for your wealth of experience in trademark litigation. What are your top tips for keeping the litigation costs down in the current economic climate, especially as more people are taking cases to court?
The best way to cut down litigation costs is to not litigate! However, sometimes litigation is not only unavoidable but advantageous, such as in cases where it is important for the client to have a precedent. To that end, the lawyer needs to be able to discern whether a dispute is eligible for out-of-court resolution. When the case is appropriate, I advise clients to try this before entering into litigation.
Once in litigation, there are ways to cut down on costs. For example, it is always good to have organised evidence material that can be used in different jurisdictions and cases. This is particularly helpful in EU-wide disputes where the legal environment is harmonised, and similar matters may arise in other jurisdictions. Providing an attorney with all relevant evidence and information from the beginning is also important. Finally, I always encourage clients to communicate as much as possible with regard to the case’s factual aspects so that their attorney has a clear picture from the outset.
There is a growing focus on GIs from China. Do you think that this might signal the start of a more internationally harmonised approach towards these rights, and what should rights holders do to prepare?
GIs are vital to safeguard and protect culture and identity. A harmonised approach would be critical to ensuring that a level playing field exists and all relevant rights are protected without over-restricting the smooth functioning of the market. Rights holders need to be able to act with legal certainty when developing business plans and engaging in commercial activity.
What should foreign rights holders be aware of when seeking to enforce their rights in Greece?
Being part of the European Union makes the legal environment in Greece more secure – similar to that of other EU countries – and rights holders that are active in the European Union are familiar with it. They may expect the same rights protection as in other EU countries. Enforcement proceedings in Greece are effective in the IP field – particularly in trademarks, not least so because of the implementation of the Enforcement Directive EC/2004/48 and the various tools that came with it. Further, Greek courts have a variety of enforcement tools at their disposal that they use to ensure effective rulings.
The EU Digital Services Act has sought to address platform liability for illegal content, but when it comes to preventing infringing and counterfeit goods online, many believe that it is up to the courts and the industry itself to pave the way forward. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this non-legislative approach?
This is a tough balancing act involving a big and crucial part of the market – the online environment. With online transactions at their peak throughout and after the pandemic, online platforms have become increasingly important players in the market and even more critical to consumers, businesses and rights holders. To find a way to legislatively regulate and impose measures on these platforms without obstructing online commerce is a challenge. Until a golden solution is found, it will be up to the courts to make use of existing legislative tools to create a safe and functioning environment for all stakeholders in the field of online transactions.
Counterfeiting is increasing around the globe. What are your top tips for taking counterfeiters to court in Greece – and why is it an effective strategy?
The Greek authorities are doing an essential job of trying to stop the illegal commerce of counterfeits. Close cooperation with them is key to an effective anti-counterfeiting strategy. Rights holders in Greece have a variety of tools at their disposal, including litigation and monitoring and action from authorities, enabling them to combat counterfeiting successfully.
Marina Perraki is a partner at Tsibanoulis & Partners. She has practised trademark law for over 20 years and works mainly with international clients. Dr Perraki was among the group of experts selected to draft the bill to implement the new EU Trademark Directive in Greece. She is a seasoned litigator with an impressive track record and holds a PhD in trademark law from Queen Mary, University of London.