Effective Dispute Resolution
Effective Dispute Resolution (EDR) SME COVID-19 special service. The EUIPO is offering SMEs a special online service in order to settle their IP disputes. EDR means the settling of disputes by using the most effective alternative dispute resolution mechanism possible and includes mediation, conciliation, assisted negotiation and expert determination.
The special service will be offered in the following EUIPO proceedings:
- Oppositions: after the end of the cooling off period and only for unrepresented SMEs;
- Cancellations, RCD invalidities and appeals: for both represented and unrepresented SMEs at any stage of these proceedings.
The EUIPO aims to support SMEs in any of the above proceedings by designating an EDR case handler to guide the SME through the myriad amicable resolution possibilities available at the EUIPO and elsewhere. The objective is to find the most time and cost effective process to avoid complex litigation proceedings, draining resources and acting as an obstacle to business. An additional advantage is the possibility of combining parallel disputes at national and international level in one resolution process.
What will this special service look like?
The service is split into two different phases and will be run by EUIPO EDR case handlers who are experienced mediators and negotiators, with an established track record in intellectual property.
This entire service is run remotely via telephone, email, Microsoft Teams and Zoom – according to the technical capabilities of the requesting SME.
First phase: once the EUIPO case handler has received a request to use the special service, a first online contact is arranged with the requestor to explore in a confidential environment the background to the dispute pending at the EUIPO and any other parallel proceedings. The objective is to obtain a global picture of the economic activity of the SME and the conflicts in which it is involved. This first phase is intended to be interactive and dynamic with a time frame capped at six hours that can either be continuous or split into several sessions.
At the end of the first phase, the EDR case handler gives non-binding recommendations on how the dispute might be able to be efficiently settled. Such recommendations could include online use of mediation, conciliation, assisted negotiation, an expert determination or any combination of these services offered by the EUIPO and elsewhere.
Where the SME is in agreement with the recommendations, the EDR case handler will then contact the other party to the pending proceedings at the EUIPO to check whether that party would agree to try to resolve the dispute using one of recommended means.
Second phase: once one of the recommended means of dispute resolution has been chosen, it will be immediately launched online. This can either be mediation, conciliation, assisted negotiation, expert determination or any combination of these services. The aim is to conclude the second phase within 48 hours of it being initiated.