October 14, 2019
Jani Kaulo, Partner at Kolster, influences IP law in the EU together with seasoned IP experts from across Europe. Right now, a hot topic in the ECTA Council is the sector’s dark horse, China.
“It is great to be involved in influencing and offering my expertise for the future of IP law as a member of the Council of the ECTA (European Communities Trademark Association). ECTA is one of the most important and influential associations in the IP sector and promotes the development of trademarks, brand protection, and broader IPR policy and legislation on the EU level.
As its governing body, the Council decides on all projects undertaken by ECTA. I was recently elected as the third Finnish member of the Council. Members serve in this position of trust for two years at a time.
From a Finnish standpoint, my membership on the Council is important as the ECTA also influences the development of Finnish IP law. Our national trademark law follows the EU Trade Marks Directive. For my part as a member of the Council, I represent the needs of Finnish IP companies and strive to help the Council with the expertise and experience I have gained through working with clients.
In addition to the Council, I am a member of ECTA’s new China Task Force. For this reason, projects that relate to China are important for both myself personally and for the future of intellectual property rights. I will continue to actively work to promote these rights.”
In recent years, the ECTA has been kept busy by reforms in trademark legislation. Among other things, the reform harmonised trademark practices in EU member states, removed the requirement of graphical representation, and clarified registration categories.
Another highly topical issue in the ECTA is China. China has been classified by the ECTA as one of five most important non-European areas in terms of IPR, and the association wants to offer its input in the reform and development of Chinese IP law. Chinese authorities and government are engaged in dialogue over IPR with the European Commission, and we at ECTA assist the Commission in this dialogue.
Issues over IPR are also a factor in the trade war between the US and China. The US uses China’s poor observance of IP rights as one justification for its tariffs and the confrontation as a whole. The aims of the EU and ECTA are similar to those of the US, but their methods are more diplomatic. Though their aggression, the Americans are left out in the cold in the eyes of the Chinese, while Europe increases its appeal. Increasingly, China looks to the EU for economic relations.
ECTA brings the spotlight on IPR-related challenges and solutions while respecting the counterparty, and for this reason, the association is seen as a friend by the Chinese. The importance of ECTA has clearly been noted also in China.
ECTA Annual Conferences are enormous, three-day events for members of the association and IP experts from across the world. In addition to exciting keynote speakers, seminars and workshops, various ECTA committees and the Council hold their own internal meetings. This year’s conference broke all-time attendance records with more than 800 participants. The conference’s popularity is proof of the strong growth of ECTA.
Many members of the ECTA Council have previously worked in the association’s various committees. They serve as a sort of springboard for membership on the Council. Personally, I have not been involved in committee work, but I serve as a member of the ECTA China Task Force and assist the European Commission in its dialogue on IP issues with the Chinese government and authorities.
ECTA promotes legal reform and topical issues related to trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights in cooperation with national and international organisations, including EUIPO and WIPO. As a member of the ECTA Council, I work to advance the IPR interests of Finnish businesses within the EU and in China.
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