The Mobile World Congress (MWC), the leading annual congress in the mobile communications and related sectors, takes place in Barcelona from February 22 to 25 2016. This global event provides a platform for presentations on innovations and advances in mobile communications technology and the launch of new applications for portable devices and software and new designs for mobile devices and computer technology.

Due to the intense competitiveness of this market, infringements of industrial or intellectual property rights (eg, technological patents and design rights) may arise.

In light of this, the Barcelona Commercial Courts have established a protocol that applies where a rights holder participating in the MWC requests a preliminary injunction due to the possible infringement of its rights. The protocol is designed to:

  • avoid issuing a preliminary injunction without hearing the defendant; and
  • ensure the adoption of effective measures to protect IP rights.

On January 22 2016 the Board of Judges of the Barcelona Commercial Courts renewed the protocol approved for the MWC 2015 in order for it to apply during February 2016. Through the protocol the courts have committed to:

  • give priority to urgent preliminary measures (with or without a hearing) relating to the potential infringement of IP rights held by companies launching products at the MWC;
  • resolve requests for a preliminary injunction without hearing the defendant within two days of filing and within a maximum of 10 days if a hearing is scheduled, provided that a protective letter has been submitted to the court;
  • accept the filing of protective letters in order to prevent, as far as possible, the grant of preliminary injunctions without hearing the defendant, which will allow the defendant to refute the allegations and demonstrate its willingness to appear immediately before the court to resolve any issues; and
  • take into account the prior behaviour of the applicant and the speed with which it reacted to the alleged infringement in order to assess urgency under Article 733 of the Civil Procedural Law in considering the issue of a preliminary injunction without a hearing. A request for an urgent preliminary injunction shall be submitted within the timeframe specified in good faith in order to enable the defendant to be heard.

The Barcelona Commercial Courts have agreed to provide an on-call, continuous service during public hearing working hours – not just when the MWC is taking place, but for the whole month of February.

Finally, the Barcelona Commercial Courts have observed that other trade fairs involving the potential infringement of industrial and intellectual property rights take place in Barcelona and that, at the request of public or private institutions, the protocol could be extended throughout 2016 to other events.

For further information on this topic please contact Julia Carretero at Grau & Angulo by telephone (+34 93 202 34 56) or email (j.carretero@gba-ip.com). The Grau & Angulo website can be accessed at www.gba-ip.com.

This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.