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MADARA LAW Organizes a MARQUES Coexistence Agreement Workshop

MADARA LAW held a workshop on February 1, 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria under the auspices of MARQUES, the European trade mark owner’s association.
Speakers at the event were Mr. Krassimir Rouev, a managing partner of MADARA LAW, Corporate & IP Attorneys and Mrs. Iana Roueva Madey, a partner at MADARA LAW, Corporate & IP Attorneys. As guest speakers MADARA LAW invited Mrs. Maria Slavova, a senior expert at the Bulgarian Patent Office and Mrs. Simona Takova, Chairwoman of the Center for Settlement and Mediation at the Sofia District and City Courts.
A total of 22 people attended. The participants were local IP firms, right holders, mediators and judges from the Sofia City Court.
The workshop was opened by Mrs. Iana Roueva Madey by welcoming all participants. Then Mrs. Roueva Madey presented the topic of the workshop by explaining the commercial importance of coexistence agreements, the insufficient academic discussion and the existence of very little jurisprudence at the EU level.
In the first part of the workshop two presentations were delivered. The first one presented by Mrs. Roueva Madey dealt with the definition of a coexistence agreement and how these agreements provide right holders with the opportunity to “transfer” the reputation of their brands from one market to another without the necessity of building a new brand from the very beginning.
The influence of globalization, attractiveness of global trade marks and marketing, backlog of registries were pointed out as factors that lead to the increase of conflict between brands. This was illustrated by trade mark applications statistics by EUIPO, USPTO, German, UK and French IPOs. The importance of co-existence agreements was illustrated by the epic battle between Apples Records and Apple Computers.
The circumstances which usually call for a resolution of a potential conflict through a co-existence agreement were discussed. Special emphasis was placed on the type of provisions present in a co-existence agreement.
The second presentation delivered by Krassimir Rouev concentrated on the lack of an explicit legal framework surrounding the coexistence agreements both at the national and EU level. On the national level the research conducted by the Bulgarian PTO revealed that there is no case law that deals with the subject matter of coexistence agreements. In comparison on the EU level the jurisprudence is scarce and inconsistent whereby the agreements are not always accepted as a clear will of the parties. Krassimir Rouev discussed in great detail the available EUIPO case law.
In the second part of the workshop the participants were divided into two groups. Team A was led by Mr. Krassimir Rouev and Mrs. Iana Roueva Madey and team B by Ms. Maria Slavova and Mrs. Simona Takova. Both teams presented the main agreement points. Mr. Rouev presented in great detail all conflicting points and their possible interpretation by the Bulgarian courts.
The workshop ended with a cocktail and further discussions on the topic of co-existence agreements.
The participants found the workshop comprehensive, rich in content and very useful for their practice.
A report on the event can be found on MARQUE’s monthly newsletter -
Author: Iana Roueva Madey
111 Dimitar Petkov Blvd.
Office 3-6, Fl. 3
Sofia 1309
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