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"Pavia e Ansaldo is gearing up for the arrival of the Unified Patent Court in Milan”
Gian Paolo di Santo, Partner and Head of IP at Pavia e Ansaldo, speaks about the establishment of the UPC in Milan, sharing his view of the IP market and on the litigation trends.
What benefits do you think the establishment of the Unified Patent Court in Milan could bring to the country?
Having a centrally located Unified Patent Court in Milan is essential, in order to recognize Italy’s important role in the patent – and therefore economic – landscape in Europe, and for Milan particularly, it would acknowledge an efficiency that effectively puts the city on the same level of the best European hubs. Furthermore, it would have a very significant impact on an economic, commercial and tourism level.
How do you think the establishment of the Unified Patent Court will change Italian business?
It would be the acknowledgement of what Milan already represents and it would also be a boost. In this regard, the undeniable improvements brought by EXPO 2015 to our city should be recalled.
What trends have you noticed in patent disputes and do you think they will stick?
In patent cases, and even more in those involving the Unified Patent, we notice that more and more often there are no judicial events involving a single European country, but rather more jurisdictions at the same time and our efforts are therefore usually focused on searching for any possible points of contact and coordination among the different judicial cases pending. Hence, it is clear that this will be extremely enhanced by the introduction of the Unified Patent.
How does Pavia e Ansaldo manage to provide a fully rounded assistance in patent disputes?
Pavia e Ansaldo is not only particularly and specifically specialized in IP in general terms, but boasts a particular expertise in patent litigation, this being absolutely one of the most relevant areas of IP litigation and it is in this area that we usually coordinate and contribute to patent litigation cases simultaneously pending – or closely connected – in Italy, in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. Of course, we’re now gearing up in order to be ready for the introduction of the Unified Patent, first of all by studying in detail the latest developments brought about by such patent and its procedures, but also by equipping ourselves with the proper technological devices.
What industry sectors is Pavia e Ansaldo most active in?
The IP department at Pavia e Ansaldo is especially active in the pharmaceutical, mechanical patent sector as well as in the field of electronics, where the protection of copyrights is very important. Our IP department is also particularly active in litigation in the luxury and fashion trademarks sector and in the protection of trade secrets.
What trends have you seen in trademark disputes and what do you think we can we expect in the short term?
In the trademark area there is less news expected than in the patent sector, but there are some new trends, or rather returning issues, such as for example that of parallel imports, particularly from the United States, with more advanced technical aspects with respect to the past, which are therefore more difficult to challenge.
What gaps are there in the protection of trade secrets law?
Regarding the protection of trade secrets, we can say that in Italy there are good protection measures and there are some legal instruments, such as the precautionary procedure of “Descrizione” which are very effective measures and place Italy in an excellent position in this area.
What kind of evolution have you seen in life sciences patents?
In life science patents, it is more and more often necessary to plan the court case in advance and do it very accurately; basically, it is necessary to plan and prepare a life-science patent case year or 18 months before the starting date of the legal proceedings.
Do you think mediation and arbitration are valid alternatives to litigation when it comes to patent disputes?
Frankly speaking, I don’t think that, currently, mediation and arbitration are valid and efficient alternatives, apart from cases where all the parties involved are aware of the existence of confidentiality requirements that should necessarily lead to start disputes with no publicity or exposure.
Do you think mediation and arbitration are valid alternatives to litigation when it comes to copyright disputes?
Broadly speaking, in mediation and arbitration, both in trademark and patent disputes, as well as in copyright ones, an “inaudita altera parte” precautionary decision able to quickly stop the counterfeiting activity (injunction) cannot be obtained.
What differences have you noticed between Italian IP trends and those in other European countries?
I think that one of the main differences, apart from the procedural aspects of the various litigations and jurisdictions, particularly with reference to patent litigation, concerns the interpretation of the theory of equivalents and therefore the extent and definition of the existence, or non-existence, of counterfeit also when it does not literally refer to the patent.
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