Compulsory mediation for trademark, patent and industrial design disputes in Greece 26 Jan 2018

Under the very recent Law 4512/2018 (published 17 January 2018),  all civil disputes regarding trademarks, patents and industrial designs in Greece, will first go through a compulsory mediation process, before finding their way to court. The new process will be applicable as from 17 October 2018.

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.

The new law also provides for the possibility of a teleconference for the parties.

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.

The law clarifies that mediation does not prohibit the filing and hearing of temporary relief measures (preliminary injunction action).

The new law has attracted criticism over essentially adding a pre-trial phase, thus raising costs and practically delaying results for aggrieved parties. It is also not entirely clear whether patent nullity actions or unfair competition cases are covered by the mediation obligation. It is said that the new law aims at establishing, gradually, a mentality favouring the amicable resolution of disputes. This of course remains to be seen.