The courts of Barcelona will apply a special fast protocol for IP infringements during the 2017 Mobile World Congress
The MWC is the world’s biggest trade show regarding mobile devices and communications, where the global leading companies show their latest developments. It has been held in Barcelona since 2006 and it is scheduled to continue until 2023. In the 2016 event there were more than 2.200 exhibitors from 204 different countries, 3.600 international media and industry analysts and more than 100.000 visitors from all around the world. In 2017, the MWC will take place from February 27th to March 2nd. Acts of IP infringement, unfair competition or illegal publicity executed during the event could cause enormous damage to the affected companies.
In order to mitigate these damages and provide a safer legal environment to the participating companies, the Commercial Courts of Barcelona approved, after the 2015 event, a special protocol to fasten the adoption of precautionary measures (i.e. seizure) during the MWC. This protocol includes:
- To give priority to the approval of precautionary measures regarding technological patents and industrial designs whose presentation is scheduled to take place during the MWC, and regarding IP infringements, unfair competition acts and illicit publicity regarding products shown in the MWC.
- To approve within a two days term the petition of precautionary measures that do not include the hearing of the defendant party, provided that a writ of prevention has been filed by the plaintiff. Under Spanish laws, it is possible to adopt precautionary measures without hearing the defendant party if such hearing could cause the ineffectiveness of the measure or it is urgent.
- To approve within a ten days term the petition of precautionary measures that include the hearing of the defendant party, provided that a writ of prevention has been filed by the plaintiff.
- To accept the presentation of writs of prevention from those companies who suspect could suffer the adoption of urgent precautionary measures without hearing them. These writs will allow the companies to explain its pleadings and to show its willingness to appear before the Courts.
- In order for the Courts to decide the adoption of precautionary measures without hearing the defendant, it will be essential to evaluate the previous behavior of the plaintiff party and its speed in reacting when it has known the possible infraction. For example, it will be relevant that the petition of urgent precautionary measures has been filed as soon as the plaintiff has become aware of the possible infraction, and not later with the purpose of avoiding the hearing of the defendant because of the urgency.
For all companies who think could be affected by precautionary measures procedures, either as a defendant or as a plaintiff, it is important to take into account that in order to appear before Spanish Courts, the legal representative of such companies (the CEO, the Sole Director, etc.) should grant a power of attorney to a Spanish attorney and a Court Agent (“procurador”). Usually, we recommend that the company’s legal representative grants this power in his home town, in bilingual format and according to the draft provided by the Spanish attorney, at least one or two weeks before the MWC starts, because the Power should be legalized and apostilled, and these steps take at least 2-3 days until we receive the document. Alternatively, the company’s legal representative could grant the Power before a Spanish Notary, and in this case the apostille will not be needed, but the legal representative will have to prove his appointment before the Spanish Notary, for example through a good standing certificate, which will have to be apostilled as well.