On 1 January 2016 the long-awaited Law on Industrial Property
Institutions and Regulations (hereinafter: the Law) came into
It needs hardly be said that intellectual property, especially
industrial property, such as patents, industrial design,
indications of geographical origin and trademarks, plays a
significant role in the international competitiveness of a
country's economy. Proper protection of industrial property
requires proper registration, appellation and opposition
procedures. What improvements would benefit inventors and others
seeking to register and protect their innovations?
Improved procedure for examination of appeals and
The basic improvements of the Law lay down the procedure for
appeals against decisions of the Latvian Industrial Property Office
– the Latvian Patent Office – and also for examining
oppositions against the registration of others industrial property
rights. Although the institution for the examination of both
appeals and oppositions is one and the same – the Appellation
Council of Industrial Property (hereinafter: the Appellation
Council) – the Law makes a list of detailed provisions
established with a view to ensuring the functional independence of
the Appellation Council from the Patent Office which is still
responsible for the administration of the Appellation Council.
The Law also provides for a more detailed procedure for
reviewing appeals and oppositions by the Appellation Council. Inter
alia, it confers discretion on the Appellation Council to examine
the case in written proceedings or in verbal hearings.
Improved logical structure for general provisions, common to
all types of industrial property
The Latvian substantive law regulating each type of industrial
property has still remained divided, so each type of industrial
property is regulated by its own law, be it the Patent Law, the Law
on Trademarks and Indications of Geographical Origin, the
Industrial Design Law and others. However, before the Law took
effect, general provisions, like the regulations regarding
professional industrial property attorneys or the Appellation
Council, had been included in the Patent Law. This created a risk
of misunderstandings, if, for instance, a person interested in
learning the regulations for professional trademark attorneys were
not informed that he or she should also have examined the
provisions of the Patent Law, besides the Law on Trademarks and the
Law on Trademarks and Indications of Geographical Origin. Now such
general provisions applicable to all types of industrial property
are covered in the Law.
Time test for the Law
It is still early days to reach a conclusion on the legal
efficacy of this new Law but testing out the new provisions in
practice will show whether any major improvements are required.
"We should note that according to the provisions of the
Law, if a party is not satisfied with a decision of the appellation
council, it may within a three-month period launch a respective
claim to the specially determined court of first instance which
shall examine the claim in civil proceedings."
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