Joint Seminar by Top Team, BSKB and HL: Regulation Updates and Practice in Taiwan, US and EU
11月28日冠群邀請美英知名智財事務所 Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch, LLP (BSKB)、及 Haseltine Lake LLP (HL)的專家共同參與台美歐三區聯合講座，分別就台灣著名商標的訴訟判例、美國商標之商業使用要件、英國脫歐對歐洲商標與設計專利的影響、以及歐洲專利審查指南修訂情況等主題，給予精闢介紹及實務建議。
Experts from Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch, LLP (BSKB) and Haseltine Lake LLP (HL) were invited to speak at a joint seminar organized by Top Team on November 28, 2018. They presented a variety of topics including the “Trademark Use in Commerce” requirement and the Post Registration Proof of Use Audit Program in the US; Brexit’s Impact on EU trademarks and designs, and an Update on EPO’s Guidelines for Examination.
BSKB資深合夥人Robert J. Kenny 從美國商標法的「商業使用（Use in Commerce）」概念出發，說明企業在業務發展各階段需出示的使用證明，包括商標申請／註冊時提出的使用聲明（Statement of use）、註冊後第5~6 年及第9~10年需提交的使用宣誓書（Declaration of use under section 8 or section 71），他以購物網站等實例說明 USPTO（美國專利及商標局）審核使用證明（Specimen）的標準，並就如何預防其他人搶先註冊商標，給予實務上的專業建議。
Robert J Kenny, the senior partner of BSKB, began with the concept of “trademark use in commerce”, the basis for establishing and maintaining trademark rights in the US. He explained the use requirement at different business stages, covering the intent-to-use, extension of international registration and other possible filing/registration bases, as well as the declarations of use under section 8 and section 71. Kenny used real-world examples to demonstrate what constitutes an acceptable specimen of use. He also gave practical suggestions on how to avoid trademark conflicts before the actual use day of a trademark.
一同出席的BSKB 律師 【of counsel/顧問/顧問律師/資深律師/公司律師 】Michael T. Smith 介紹的是 USPTO於2017年11月啟動的「註冊後使用證明稽核計畫（Post Registration Proof of Use Audit Program）」。他說明該計畫的制定背景，當局在2012年~2014年間，隨機抽查500個申請展延的註冊商標，結果高達253個（51%）商標的商品／服務使用證明無法核實，當中173個（35%）商標因而刪減商品或服務品項，80個（16%）商標沒有回應而遭撤銷。這個結果讓當局決定設立常態性稽查機制，商標權人今後應更加留心其使用宣示書的真實性。
The next speaker Michael T. Smith, the Inside Counsel of BSKB, focused on the Post Registration Proof of Use Audit Program, which was officially launched in November 2017 by the USTPO. He talked about the background of the audit program. In July of 2012, the authority began randomly selecting 500 registrations for which owners had filed six-year declarations of use (Section 8 or 71 affidavits of continued use). Those owners were asked to submit proof of use for at least two additional goods or services per class.
It turned out that 253 of the selected registrations (51%) were not able to verify the previously claimed use. 175 (35%) of the registrations had goods and/or services removed; and 80 (16%) were canceled in their entirety because the registrants didn’t even respond. The program improved the integrity of the trademark register by allowing the USPTO to cancel audited registrations with unsubstantiated use claims or remove unsupported goods and services from others and later made the new Post-Registration Proof of Use Pilot Program permanent last November. Smith also shared his opinion about how to respond to the audit under different scenarios.
接下來歐洲慧智林事務所的兩位合夥人，分別說明英國脫歐影響、以及EPO專利審查指南的近期增修情況。英國與歐盟11月底已經完成必要協商，若英方能在脫歐生效日前通過協議草案，接下來會有21個月（至2020年底）的過渡期，來完成配套立法，否則2019年3月29日以後，歐盟商標與註冊設計（Registered Community Design, RCD）在英國都將失去法律效力，屆時，受影響的權利人或申請人只能循英國政府8月公布的無協議（no-deal Brexit）脫歐方案因應。
The following topics were presented by two partners of Haseltine Lake LLP (HL). As everyone knows, the UK and EU have agreed a Brexit deal in November. If the deal is passed by the UK Parliament and signed before the exit day (March 29, 2019), there will be a transition period, extending to the end of 2020, for the UK to enact and implement the supporting legislation. If it’s not, EU law will cease to apply on 29 March 2019, i.e., EU trade marks and designs will be no longer in effect in the UK.
面對兩種可能的未來，Michael Conway 根據前述協議草案及無協議脫歐方案，說明商標及設計專利權人在權利轉換過程的注意事項，包括行政規定、優惠措施、權力耗盡原則、可能風險、適用法規比較及訴訟影響等，藉以評估是否要單獨申請英國商標或設計專利。
On the base of the 585-page draft withdrawal agreement and the “No-Deal” guidance released earlier, Mr. Michael Conway talked about the Brexit effect on EU trademarks and Registered Community Design (RCD), such as the potential risks, exhaustion of rights, key differences in practice between the UK and EU, cross-border trade and custom procedure, etc. He also offered useful suggestion for how to maintain the continuity of protection of granted trade marks and RCDs.
隨後由 Dr. Daniel Chew 介紹 11月發布的新版EPO專利審查指南（Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office），由於實務上審查員會參照指南引用的指導及標準，因此熟悉指南有助於貼近EPO的審查觀點。Dr. Chew 的簡報涵蓋8個主題，包括刪除或置換（請求項）技術特徵的審查原則；單一性審查的雙重評估步驟；電腦軟體之可專利性的審查標準；機器學習相關發明之可專利性審查細則等等。
Later on, Dr. Daniel Chew provided an update on the EPO Guidelines for Examination released in November 2018. He stressed the importance of familiarity with the guidelines which set out the day to day practice for examiners and enable patent attorneys to understand how an examiner is likely to approach an issue. Because, in his observation, examiners refer to case law quoted only in the guidelines. He also briefed the audience the key changes to the former edition.
Jia Lin, the attorney at law of Top Team, shared about invalidation cases involving the “well-known” trademarks in Taiwan and overseas. She recapitulated the related Supreme Administrative Court ruling, decided in 2017, in which the definition, Likelihood of Confusion and Dilution of “well-known” trademarks prescribed in Trademark Act §30(1)(11) were further clarified. She also spoke about different academic opinions and the possible amendment to the Act.
BSKB has been providing a full range of intellectual property law services to clients since 1976 and now become one of the top five IP law service firms in the United States. Its knowledgeable attorneys and agents are particularly experienced in the fields of chemistry, electronics and IT, mechanical engineering and life sciences/biotechnology. Robert J. Kenney has achieved a personal record as the attorney of Trademark Records (surpassing 5000 trademark applications and registrations in USPTO) this July. Michael T. Smith has practiced in the intellectual property field since 2001, focusing on patent prosecution, trademark litigation and other inter partes matters.
Haseltine Lake was established in 1850 and it is now widely regarded as one of the major IP law firms in Europe, with offices in Bristol, London, Glasgow, Munich, Sittard-Geleen, and Guangzhou. Michael Conway leads the firm’s Designs Group and regularly advises clients on registered and unregistered design matters and he speaks English, German and Spanish with basic competence in Mandarin. As a registered UK and European Patent attorney, Dr. Daniel Chew has a PhD degree in mobile and satellite communications and specializes in electronic patent matters, particularly in mobile and communications systems inventions.