Latvia: Legislative amendments aiming to speed up resolution of industrial property related disputes enter into force.
An industrial property (IP) related legislation package including a new Law on Industrial Property Institutions and Procedures is in force in Latvia as of 1 January 2016. The new package is a result of official debates and legislative procedures lasting nearly six years.
The main aim of the package is to speed up resolution of industrial property related disputes. In particular, the mandatory out-of-court procedure so far applicable to these could last 2-3 years and was subject to further appeal in an administrative court.
The current rules substantively strengthen the capacity of the body (Industrial Property Board of Appeal) responsible for out-of-court dispute resolution. In particular, its members to be selected during forthcoming months will be permanent quasi-judges dealing with these disputes only.
Additionally, the procedure at the Board will be based on the principles of civil proceedings, thus changing from the previously applicable administrative procedure. The change of procedure involves the need for a more active role from the parties as the Board will no longer have a duty to gather evidence and establish facts on its own initiative. The outcome of the proceedings will depend only on the parties and their input into providing sufficient evidence to support their position. Parties who are not satisfied with the result will be entitled to ask the court to retry the case under its civil procedure.
Moreover, the new rules allow skipping oral proceedings at the Board in appropriate cases. This could shorten the process by having written proceedings only.
The official duties on filing an appeal or opposition to the Board are not changed substantively. In particular, the duty for filing an appeal is EUR 150, and for an opposition – EUR 180.
Source: Law on Industrial Property Institutions and Procedures (2015)