FRIDAY, 26 JANUARY 2018
Greece: Compulsory mediation for civil TM disputes - but not right now
The recent Law 4512/2018 (published 17 January 2018) brings about a significant change in TM litigation in Greece. Under the new law, all civil disputes regarding trademarks (and also patents and industrial designs) must first go through a mediation process, before finding their way to court. The mediation attempt is compulsory and the case will not be heard if mediation has not failed first.
The law provides for a rather bureaucratic procedure, as the prospective plaintiff must file a request with the newly set up Central Mediation Authority for the appointment of a mediator (from the list of accredited mediators) who will invite the other party to mediation. According to the law, the mediation is to be concluded within 30 days following the initial invitation. Attorney presence is compulsory during the mediation procedure.
In case the parties find common ground, their agreement can be filed with the Secretary of the court of jurisdiction of the dispute and become an enforceable title.
Mediation does not prohibit the filing and hearing of temporary relief measures (preliminary injunction action).
The new process will be applicable as from 17 October 2018.
Obviously, time will tell whether obligatory mediation will produce more efficient tackling of trademark disputes. Though an avid supporter of quick out of court resolution of disputes, this blogger is not particularly optimistic. The obligatory and quasi-bureaucratic character of the scheme introduced, practically adds a pre-trial phase for aggrieved TM owners. This blogger has found that "when there is a will there is a way" and has yet to experience an instance where both parties were interested in amicable resolution, willing to go some distance to achieve it, and this did not happen. So he is unsure whether compulsory mediation will increase the number of amicable settlements of IP cases in Greece.
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