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Internal Market: Liechtenstein must change its trademark legislation

5.3.2014

PR(14)13

The requirements of the Liechtenstein Trademark Protection Act relating to non-resident trademark holders are in breach of EEA rules. This is the conclusion in a reasoned opinion, a final warning, delivered by the EFTA Surveillance Authority to Liechtenstein today. 

«Liechtenstein may set rules in order to protect the interest of trademark holders and the efficient conduct of judicial and administrative proceedings. However, the current legislation is discriminatory and creates burdens too excessive to be in compliance with EEA law», Frank J. Büchel, responsible College Member of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, stated.

In order to participate in administrative or judicial proceedings regulated by the Liechtenstein Trademark Protection Act, a non-resident trademark holder must appoint a lawyer or a patent lawyer within Liechtenstein as his representative. 

The Authority considers this requirement to be a barrier to the provision of cross-border services. Pursuant to EEA law, a lawyer or a patent lawyer who is an EEA national and provides cross-border services in Liechtenstein in trademark matters cannot be required to be registered or established in Liechtenstein. 

Furthermore, the obligation placed on non-resident trademark holders to appoint a lawyer or patent lawyer qualified to practice in Liechtenstein is discriminatory and prohibited by Article 4 of the EEA Agreement, as there is no corresponding obligation placed on Liechtenstein trademark holders.

The Authority considers the legal requirements imposed by Liechtenstein to constitute an indirect discrimination in breach of Article 4 of the EEA Agreement and the rules on the provision of cross-border services in the internal market.

Today's request to Liechtenstein to bring its legislation in line with EEA law takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second stage of the EEA infringement proceedings. If Liechtenstein does not take the measures necessary to ensure compliance with EEA rules within two months, the Authority may refer the matter to the EFTA Court.

 

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

 




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