On the occasion of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the Barcelona Commercial Courts have renewed their court protocol in order to provide a solution to potential IP conflicts.

The MWC which will be held in Barcelona from the 22th to 25th of February 2016 attracts about 95,ooo attendees and 2,000 exhibitors of the mobile industry which will show and discuss their recent developments. Of course, many of these developments are protected by various IP rights such as patents, designs or trademarks. Hence, it appears very likely that IP conflicts in this highly competitive sector will arise during the MWC or are already under way.

In order to address these conflicts in a fast and straightforward manner, the Barcelona Commercial Courts adopted in 2014 a specific protocol which allows IP right holders to request urgent legal remedies against potential infringers and permits parties likely to be charged with infringement to submit so-called protective briefs. The protocol has been renewed for 2016.

The protocol provides a preferred and expedited prosecution of urgent preliminary injunction proceedings which concern patents, designs or trademarks relating to products presented at the MWC as well as potential unfair competition or unlawful advertising regarding products or material exhibited at the MWC.

In preliminary injunction proceedings ex parte, the Courts will try to provide a decision within two days after the requests have been filed. In cases where a protective letter was filed, the Courts have set a maximum period of ten days for deciding on the preliminary injunction and fixing a date for a first hearing.

The Courts admit the filing of protective letters as precautionary measure by alleged infringers in case of expected or assumed ex parte preliminary injunction proceedings. These protective letters should present the substantiation for the non-infringement as well as include the availability of the alleged infringer to appear before the Courts on short notice.

The 2014 protocol and renewed in 2016 is a further step of the specialization of the Barcelona Commercial Courts in IP litigation. It should be taken into account for the years to come as well, since the MWC will reside in Barcelona at least until 2023.