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研討會:

  • 研討會預告:2009116日與工業總會合辦「從2008CeBITIFA商展會場之檢警搜索扣押事件,談德國專利侵權案件之民刑事責任及實務運作」。

 

  • 200818日、9日、10日外貿協會與本所合辦「德國智慧財產權及合約實務研討會」(地點:新竹、台中、高雄)

 

 

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申請歐盟商標之費用大幅調降約40%

歐盟於2009331日決議調降歐盟商標申請案之官方費用。亦即未來申請人僅需於申請時給付一次官方規費,於商標公告期滿後,無需再繳納「領證費」即可完成登記,預計此一變革亦將縮短完成歐盟商標申請及登記所需之時間。

200951日起,歐盟商標之官方規費(申請費加計領証費),將自目前之1,750歐元調降為1,050歐元;倘係以網路提出申請,官方規費將自目前之1,600歐元調降為900歐元,調幅高達40%左右

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德國檢警機關於2008CeBIT會場大舉進行搜索扣押

200835日一早,三名檢察官率領183名便衣警察進入德國漢諾威電子展(CeBIT)的會場51家參展廠商的攤位進行搜索,並扣押部份涉及專利侵權之展品;被波及者包24家中國廠商、12家台灣廠商、8家德國廠商,其餘則為香港、波蘭荷蘭以及南韓之廠商。本次檢警之搜索扣押行動係依據義大利公司S.I.SV.EL.之聲請所發動,而S.I.SV.EL於此種國際性商展上,就專利爭議案件採取強烈之刑事手段,已經不是第一次,該公司於2007年亦曾分別於CeBIT及柏林消費電子展(IFA)採取同樣之行動。許多其他的專利權人也已經注意到動用刑事程序之優勢,倘德國法院、檢察機關之態度不改變,預計未來幾年內,專利侵權之刑事程序可能會逐漸取代過去一般所採用之民事程序,成為專利權人主張權利之第ㄧ選擇,而檢警人員也可能會變成德國商展的常客。

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New German law relieves administrative obligations of small and medium business  [12/07/2006]

The German parliament has passed a new law ("Mittelstandsentlastungsgesetz"), which will relief small and medium business from certain administrative and documentary burdens.  For example, after this law takes effect on 1 January 2007, the general bookkeeping obligation will only apply to business having a turnover exceeding 500,000 Euro (instead of the current threshold of 350,000 Euro) in the preceding calendar year.    Furthermore, the simplified invoice form will apply to payments up to 150 Euro (instead of the current ceiling of 100 Euro).

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German VAT increases to 19% in 2007

On May 20, 2006 the German Parliament decided on the long-discussed issue of raising the VAT rate, which is currently 16%.  Beginning from January 1, 2007, most of the goods sold and services provided within Germany will be subject to a VAT of 19 %.

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Federal Supreme Court (“BGH”) partially canceled FIFA’s Football World Cup 2006 trademarks

A few weeks prior to the beginning of the Football World Cup 2006, which is organized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”), the highest German court rendered a decision partially canceling FIFA’s German registered trademarks “FUSSBALL WM 2006”(“football world championship 2006” in German) and “WM 2006” (“world championship 2006” in German) on grounds that these trademarks are descriptive and lack of distinctiveness.

In year 2002, about 4 years before the Football World Cup 2006 in Germany, FIFA registered and obtained, among others, German trademarks for “FUSSBALL WM 2006” and both EU and German trademarks for “WM 2006” in all categories of products and services.  In 2003 cancellation proceedings against FIFA’s EU and German trademarks were respectively initiated on the basis that these trademarks are descriptive and that FIFA acted in bad faith when filing the relevant trademark applications. 

During the EU cancellation proceedings, FIFA’s EU trademark “WM 2006” was initially sustained.  Nevertheless, the appeal proceedings is still pending.

Different from the EU trademark, FIFA’s German trademarks were partially cancelled by German Patent and Trademark Office in 2004.  FIFA filed an appeal against such decision with the Federal Patent Court (the competent court for such cases) and the court ruled that these marks are descriptive for certain products and services related to this event, for example, sport goods and products, shoes and clothing, travel arrangements, entertainment, food and drinks services etc.  On ground of this, the court cancelled FIFA’s said trademarks with respect to the above-mentioned products and services.  Appeal was then filed with the Federal Supreme Court against this decision.  The Federal Supreme Court recently rendered its decision and extended the scope of cancellation with respect to “FUSSBALL WM 2006” to all goods and services in direct relation to the football world championship due to the mark’s descriptive nature and the lack of distinctiveness.  As to “WM 2006”, the Federal Supreme Court sustained the partial-cancellation decision of the Federal Patent Court and with respect to the un-cancelled part of the trademark, the Federal Supreme Court referred the case back to the Federal Patent Court for further examination of whether the trademark is descriptive for other goods and services.  The Federal Supreme Court’s decision is final and conclusive.

The currently contradict results of the cancellation of FIFA’s EU and German trademarks has led to an ironic situation that since FIFA’s EU trademark is still effective in all member states including Germany, the “gaps” of the partially cancelled German trademark “WM 2006” is filled up by the corresponding EU trademark.  The use of “WM 2006” in Germany is despite of the Federal Supreme Court’s decision still subject to FIFA’s authorization.

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European Court loosened the requirements for dispatching non-EU national employees to Germany

According to EU Treaty, companies in any EU member state are allowed to send their employees to other member states for provision of services without obtaining work permits for such employees.  This also applies to employees who are non-EU national; although residence permit / visa is still required for these non-EU national employees. 

In Germany, in order to obtain the aforesaid residence permit (which is issued in the form of visa), certain requirements shall be met.   One of such requirement was that the non-EU national employees must have been employed by that EU company, which dispatches the employee to Germany, for over 12 months.  Due to this requirement, the flexibility for the employer to re-allocate its manpower is limited.

In January 2006, the European Court of Justice ruled in a case (No. C-244/04) that the above-mentioned requirement was in violation of the EU Treaty.  The court requested that Germany shall issue residence permit / visa on ground of the EU employers’ simple declaration.  According to this decision, the previous requirements of a prior employment period of 12 months and the provision of employment agreement shall be lifted.  The loosened requirements relating to dispatching non-EU national employees to Germany allow EU employers more room to decide on an appropriate and cost-saving human resource plan.

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