Conference report: ECTA 2013 in a nutshell

Published on: 04 July 2013

ECTA (European Communities Trade Mark Association) celebrated its 32nd Annual Meeting with a great conference that took place the week of June 19th - 22nd at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Bucharest, Romania. Dennemeyer participated at this event as an exhibitor with a booth, sending five delegates, including our CEO, the Directors of the Romanian office, the Head of Trademarks Germany and a representative of Business Development. We would like to share with you a glimpse of the most memorable moments of ECTA 2013.

From a content perspective, the three-day conference offered delegates the opportunity to discover Bucharest on one hand, and to take part in the most up-to-date discussions about trademark law, on the other. This year’s ECTA reunited both practical case law and company case studies, together with multiple insights into complementary topics such as strategic trademark management, social platforms and IP rights or mediation.

Among the subjects that raised the most interest was dealing with the changes implied by the EU Directive introducing the European trademarks and its impact on national trademark offices. Another absorbing subject – and probably the most controversial one – was the IP Translator Case and the ONEL decision. Furthermore, the speech dealing with the importance of mediation (by Ignacio de Castro and Katherine M. Basile) and the impact that discussions can have on successfully settling a potentially difficult situation in TM law cases, has underlined the importance of having an alternative approach to classical infringements and office actions.

The workshop “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, which kicked off the conference, dealt mainly with the subject of collective marks and explained the role of geographical indications and names of local communities.

The “Strike while the iron is hot” conference session on Thursday, that presented the “Nine must-knows for the EU trademark practitioner”, was very much appreciated by all participants. The audience enjoyed the discussion on the new gTLDs (speaker Dr. Luca Barbero), the new top level domains that provide both significant opportunities, but also challenges for companies; the speeches of Katja Grabienski and Dr. Peter Schramm – presenting current issues affecting social media for IP services and the importance of IP rights protection on social platforms – added an interdisciplinary view to the connection between online marketing and trademarks. Furthermore, we were delighted by Benjamin Fontaine’s discourse, offering a new perspective on the concept of bad faith.

In the “Don’t beat about the bush” session held on Thursday afternoon, Nathalie Luis and Marianne Grabrucker discussed some of the most recent decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and their impact on national jurisprudence, while Dr. Alexander von Mühlendahl concentrated on the same CJ decisions and their effect on Community and national jurisprudence.

While we are in conference session mood, we thought it would be nice to also comment on some of the other factors that have made this year’s ECTA Annual Meeting such a unique event. Asking our representatives to provide their votes for several categories was met with interesting results, which we present below in our list of nominees.

Nominees for “Main highlight of the 32nd ECTA Annual Meeting”:

  • The Gala Dinner at the Palace of Justice
  • A very good organization from beginning to the end
  • The speech session named “Strike while the iron is hot”

Nominees for “Best conference session”:

  • “Strike while the iron is hot” - “Nine must-knows for the EU Trade Mark Practitioner” part 1
  • “Don’t beat about the bush” with Marianne Grabrucker, Benjamin Fontaine and Nathalie Luis in the main roles
  • “Third time lucky” - “Nine must-knows for the EU Trade Mark Practitioner” part 2

When it comes to providing our view on the best speaker, the public speaking skills and expertise of the following nominees have definitely secured them a place in our top three:

  • Dr. Alexander von Mühlendahl with his speech on recent CJ decisions and their impact on Community and national jurisprudence
  • Mr. Benjamine Fontaine’s speech on the concept of bad faith
  • Myrtha Hurtado Rivas’ speech on genuine use in the EU: what the ONEL case tells us and its effects on global companies

Winner for “Best joke or the funniest thing heard”: One of the oddest, but probably true facts that came to our ears was a rumor that the ECTA should always take place in Bucharest. Judging by this year’s organization and vibrancy of the cultural and social program, nothing seems to speak against this decision.

Nominees for “Best exhibition hall give-away”: Although the USB mobile car charger was recognized almost unanimously as a major hit amongst the participants, the Lebanese sweets distributed by one of the exhibitors were not left unnoticed, being particularly enjoyed by those having a sweet tooth!

Nominees for “Best party/reception”: The runner-up for this section is the Farewell Gala Dinner that took place at the central marble two-story hall of the Palace of Justice, currently the Court of Appeal of Bucharest. While this was a quite formal occasion, with black suit dress code, the Thursday reception at the Willbrook Platinum Center was a favorite, thanks to its Romanian flair, good traditional food specialties and its live dancing performance.

Last, but not least, we asked our participants to comment on the “Best thing they liked about Bucharest”: The Bucharest nightlife seems to have caught everyone’s attention, being the centerpiece of each of the conference evenings. While the torrid June sun made the Romanian capital hot during daytime, walking and driving in Bucharest at night was a real pleasure. With a vibrant nightlife even during weekdays, Bucharest offered a positive surprise to our attendees, demonstrating that “The best is still to come” while the “Jury is still out” (the motto of this year’s ECTA).