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Event report  |  05/14/2017

Workshop “European Intellectual Property Rights and Jurisdiction in Need of a Grand Design?”

From March 16 to 18, 2017, the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition organized the workshop “European Intellectual Property Rights and Jurisdiction in Need of a Grand Design?” at the Harnackhaus in Berlin.

The workshop focused on four areas:

  • Legal Aspects: Union-wide IP Rights plus Copyrights: The Status Quo including the Role of the ECJ (chair: Matthias Leistner); Patents: The Status Quo including EPO and UPC and the Role of the ECJ (chair: Axel Metzger),
  • Empirical Insights (chair: Annette Kur): EU Trade Mark Infringement Litigation; Patent Litigation,
  • Deficits and Perspectives in the Jurisdiction of IP Rights (chair: Paul Torremans), and
  • Conclusions: In Need of a Grand Design? (chair: Reto Hilty).

The purpose of the event with 40 experts from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Poland, Austria, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States, was to identify deficits and research perspectives for further developing the EU jurisdiction scheme.

The event's organizers, Roland Knaak and Roberto Romandini of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, summed up the results: “EU jurisdiction varies widely in its approach to the intellectual property rights. Union-wide jurisdiction is only provided under certain circumstances. For the existing unitary IP Rights, especially trademarks and designs, the Regulations on these rights transfer jurisdiction to the national courts of the Member States, which in certain cases have Union-wide competence. The remaining problems with a Union-wide enforcement of these rights could be mitigated, and possibly overcome, by including further substantive provisions in the Regulations. For European patents with or without unitary effect, the UPC model aiming at establishing Union-wide jurisdiction has been put into question by Great Britain’s impending exit from the EU. Much is still uncertain, and some legal questions concerning the UK´s UPCA membership can only be clearly resolved by the CJEU. As regards copyright law, different models for further developing jurisdiction are conceivable. The options range from shifting the competence to interpret EU copyright provisions from the CJEU to the General Court and limiting the CJEU´s function to questions of primary law, to the establishment of a unitary copyright and EU specialized courts in the sense of the TFEU. A uniform and overarching structure of jurisdiction for all European IP rights is not emerging. It will be the task of fundamental research to work on a model that is capable of consensus.”

See Program