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Presentation of the practice of the Boards of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office

On 25 October 2022, a joint event of the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office and the Boards of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) was held in Ljubljana, for intellectual property (IP) attorneys, judges and other IP professionals.

Director of the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office Karin Žvokelj emphasised the importance of cooperation between the Office, the judiciary and IP experts. She stressed the relevance of organising events where current professional topics are presented.

The President of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal, Mr João Negrão, started by presenting the work of the Boards of Appeal and urged the participants to actively communicate with the Boards' experts, not only at the event but also otherwise.

Other representatives of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal presented interesting developments in practice regarding oral hearings, the taking into account of evidence and the assessment of the genuine use of an EU trade mark by national courts. They also presented some examples of suggestive and descriptive marks and underlined the importance of the work of the Enlarged Board of Appeal towards a consistent and coherent application of EU trade mark and design law.

The participants were introduced to the alternative dispute resolution procedure of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal. In fact, most of the disputes they are asked to resolve are first resolved by mediation or conciliation, which are simpler and quicker.

The EUIPO Boards of Appeal are also responsible, among other things, for deciding on revocation and invalidity proceedings for EU trade marks, an area which will soon be transferred from the courts to the Intellectual Property Office for trade marks registered in Slovenia.

In the afternoon, a bilateral meeting took place between the representatives of the Boards of Appeal of the EUIPO and our Office, where both sides presented the current situation in both institutions and the plans for the future. In the final part of the meeting, it was agreed to intensify cooperation between the two institutions, in particular in the training of the Office's examiners in the field of trademark cancellation and invalidity proceedings and mediation procedures, the holding of a seminar for judges and assistance in obtaining all IP judgments in Slovenia.