Latvia: Intellectual Property

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This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to intellectual property law in Latvia.

It will cover intellectual property rights, licensing, enforcement, establishing infringement or liability, and challenges to intellectual property.

This Q&A is part of the global guide to Intellectual Property. For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit http://www.inhouselawyer.co.uk/index.php/practice-areas/intellectual-property/

  1. What different types of intellectual property rights exist to protect: (a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how); (b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees); (c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how).

    (a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);

    Patents - An invention shall be protected by a patent in any field of technology if the invention is new, it has an inventive step and it is susceptible of industrial application.

    Supplementary protection certificates - In the case of patents for medicinal and plant protection products the duration of the patents can be extended via Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs).

    Confidential information and confidential know-how - protection of trade and company secrets is provided through competition law as unfair competition.

    (b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);

    Trade marks, including certification marks, as well as geographical indications or more precisely indications of geographical origin. There are no such concepts as association marks, hallmarks, designation of origin and traditional speciality guarantees. Our law also provides for protection against unfair competition.

    Trade marks - signs used to distinguish the goods of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. According to the Law on Trade Marks and Indications of Geographical Origin of the Republic of Latvia the term trade marks also comprises service marks and collective marks.

    Trade marks may be:

    words - consisting of letters, words, also given names, surnames, numerals;

    graphic - pictures, drawings, graphic symbols, shades of colours, combinations of colours;

    three-dimensional - three-dimensional shapes, the shapes of goods or of their packaging;

    a combination - consisting of a combination of the aforementioned elements (labels and the like);

    specific types or special (sound or light signals and the like).

    • Geographical indications, designations of origin, traditional speciality guarantees.

    (c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

    Registered designs – Design is defined as the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or its decoration (ornamentation). Legal protection shall be granted to a design if it is new and has individual character.

    Some other rights include copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, and database rights as well as rights in trade secrets, confidential information and know-how the later three are all covered up by the notion of komerciālais noslēpums (commercial secret).

  2. What is the duration of each of these intellectual property rights? What procedures exist to extend the life of registered rights in appropriate circumstances?

    patent - 20 years, the annual renewal fees should be paid from the third year.

    supplementary protection certificate (SPC) - 5 years. It may be extended for additional 6 months for medicines for paediatric use.

    trade secrets, confidential information and know-how - termless

    trade marks - not limited

    design rights - 25 years, the first validity period is 5 years and four renewals are provided, each for next 5 years.

    database rights - 15 years

    copyrights - 70 years

    semiconductor topography rights - 10 years

    plant varieties - 25 years (30 for potato, wine and tree varieties)

    Trade marks - The registration of a trade mark is valid for a period of 10 years from the filing date, if it is not cancelled upon initiative of the owner of the trade mark, invalidated or revoked. The registration may be renewed for another 10-year period unlimited number of times. The owner of the trade mark shall submit a request for renewal of registration within the last year of validity of the trade mark registration and pay the respective fee. The Patent Office of Latvia prescribes an additional six-month period after expiration of the registration for the renewal of the registration.

    If the renewal requirements are met (the request in filed and the prescribed fee is paid), the Patent Office of Latvia enters the information regarding the renewal of the registration into the Register, publishes a respective notice in the Official Bulletin and sends the confirmation of renewal to the owner of the mark.

    Copyright (including database rights) - Copyright shall be in effect for the entire lifetime of an author and for 70 years after the death of an author. Copyright to audio-visual works shall be in effect for 70 years after the death of the last of the following persons: the director; the author of the script; the author of the dialogue; the author of a musical work created for an audio-visual work. These rights cannot be extended.

  3. Who is the first owner of each of these intellectual property rights and is this different for rights created in the course of employment or under a commission?

    Patents - An inventor or his/her successor in title has the right to the patent. If several persons have jointly created an invention, they have equal right to the patent. The employer has the right to a patent if the invention in relation to which the patent application has been filed has been created by the employee whose work duties include: activity of an inventor; and research, designing and construction or preparation of technological development. If the duties of the employee do not comprise the mentioned conditions but are related to the field of activity of the employer, then the right to the patent shall belong to the inventor. The employer in this case has the right to use the invention as under a non-exclusive licence without the right to grant the licence to other persons.

    Trade marks - The owner of a registered mark is the applicant in whose name the trade mark is registered. Rights to trade marks may be acquired by any natural or legal person and each person may own one or more trade marks. Besides, a trade mark may be the joint property of two or more persons and a collective mark is the property of an association of several undertakings. Unregistered trade marks may be also used in commercial activities.

    Semiconductor topography rights - The exclusive right to the topography belongs to its creator, but if the topography is created by several persons together, all its creators. If a topography is created in the performance of an employment contract providing for the creation of topographies, the exclusive right to the topography may belong to the employer, if it is determined by a collective agreement or an individual employment contract. If the topography is created in the course of performance of the contract of the company, the exclusive right to the topography may belong to the contractor if this is determined by the contract.

    Design - The designer or his/her successor in title shall have the rights to a design. If two or more persons have created a design together, the rights to a design shall belong to all of them jointly. A designer shall have the rights to the design that has been created in the performance of a work task, unless provided otherwise by the contract with the employer.

    Copyright (including database rights) - The person, whose name or generally recognised pseudonym appears on a work communicated to the public or a published or a reproduced work, shall be considered to be the author of the work, if it is not proven otherwise. If an author has created a work performing his or her duties in an employment relationship, the moral and economic rights to the work shall belong to the author. The economic rights of the author may be transferred, in accordance with a contract, to the employer. If a computer program has been created by an employee while performing a work assignment, all economic rights to the computer program so created shall belong to the employer, unless specified otherwise by contract.

  4. Which of the intellectual property rights described above are registered rights?

    Patents, registered trade marks, registered design rights, semiconductor topography rights, and plant variety rights.

    Copyright (including database rights) – non-registered rights

  5. Who can apply for registration of these intellectual property rights and, briefly, what is the procedure for registration?

    Plant variety rights must be registered with the State Plant Protection Service. All other intellectual property rights must be applied for with the Latvian Patent Office.

    Patents – There is no substantive examination in respect of novelty and inventive step of patent applications in Latvia. Applications are examined in respect of formalities within 3 months after filing. Any deficiencies explained in the notification of the Latvian Patent Office must be remedied within 3 months from the notification date. The applications are published after 18 months from the priority date. Upon request of the applicant the early publication of the application is possible. The substantive examination is carried out in respect of possible unprotectability of the object of invention, industrial applicability and unity of the invention. Any deficiencies explained in the notification of the Latvian Patent Office must be remedied within 3 months from the notification date. If the patent application conforms to the requirements the grant decision is taken. The granting fee should be paid within 3 months. Annual fees should be paid only after the patent is granted.

    Trade marks - Any natural or legal person can apply for registration of their trade marks by filing a respective application. The Latvian Patent Office conducts only examination on absolute grounds and issues a decision to register the mark. The registration fee is payable within 3 months since date of the decision. Upon publication and registration of the mark any interested third party is given a period of 3 months to file an opposition against the published mark.

    Registered designs - Applications are examined in respect of formalities within 3 months after filing. Any deficiencies explained in the notification of the Latvian Patent Office must be remedied within 3 months from the notification date. If the patent application conforms to the requirements the grant decision is taken. The granting fee should be paid within 3 months.

    Semiconductor topography rights - Applications are examined in respect of formalities within 3 months after filing. Any deficiencies explained in the notification of the Latvian Patent Office must be remedied within 3 months from the notification date. If the application conforms to the requirements the grant decision is taken. The publication fee should be paid.

  6. How long does the registration procedure usually take?

    It depends on the type of rights. The procedure for patents lasts approximately 2-5 years (there is a possibility of accelerated processing, in this case the patent may be granted in three to nine months from the filing date). Trademarks are registered within 7-8 months. Designs are registered within 5 months. Semiconductor topography and plant varieties are registered within about one year.

  7. Do third parties have the right to take part in or comment on the registration process?

    Patents, registered designs, semiconductor topography rights - No

    Trade marks - Opposition proceedings in Latvia have post-registration character. After the mark is registered, it is published in the Official Bulletin for opposition purposes and any interested third party can within a prescribed period of three months file an opposition against the new trademark.

  8. What (if any) steps can the applicant take if registration is refused?

    Patents - If the applicants disagree with the decision of the Latvian Patent Office, they are entitled to submit a written motivated appeal to the Patent Office within three months from the day of receipt of the decision, upon payment of the respective fee. Submission of an appeal must suspend the execution of the decision of the Patent Office.

    Trade marks - If the applicants disagree with the decision of the Latvian Patent Office, they are entitled to submit a written motivated appeal to the Patent Office within three months from the day of receipt of the decision, upon payment of the respective fee. Submission of an appeal must suspend the execution of the decision of the Patent Office.

    Registered designs - If the applicants disagree with the decision of the Latvian Patent Office, they are entitled to submit a written motivated appeal to the Patent Office within three months from the day of receipt of the decision, upon payment of the respective fee. Submission of an appeal must suspend the execution of the decision of the Patent Office.

  9. What are the current application and renewal fees for each of these intellectual property rights?

    Patents – The filing fee amounts to 120 EUR and an additional fee of 20 EUR for each additional claim in excess of ten. Registration fee is 90 EUR and an additional fee of 5 EUR for each page in excess of 10. Annuities are payable starting from the third year. They increase from 90 EUR for the third year to 420 EUR for each year from the sixteenth to the twentieth. The annuities are payable in the amount of 40%, if the applicant is the inventor.

    Semiconductor topography rights - The filing fee amounts to 150 EUR. The registration fee is 75 EUR.

    Trade marks – The filing fee in 1 Class amounts to 90 EUR and an additional fee of 30 EUR for each additional class in excess of one. The registration fee is 95 EUR (irrespective of number of classes). The renewal fee is 180 EUR (irrespective of number of classes).

    Designs – The filing fee amounts to 40 EUR and an additional fee of 30 EUR for each additional design in excess of one. The registration fee is 65 EUR and an additional fee of 10 EUR for each additional reproduction in excess of one. The renewal fees are payable for each five-year period: 170 EUR for the second; 225 EUR for the third; 280 EUR for the fourth and 33 EUR for the fifth. The annuities are payable in the amount of 40%, if the applicant is the designer.

  10. What are the consequences of a failure to pay any renewal fees and what (if any) steps can be taken to remedy a failure to pay renewal fees?

    For those rights that require registration that is for patents, SPCs, designs, and trade marks, as well as plant varieties and semiconductor topologies there is a six-month grace period for payment of the renewal fees. After that period restoration of rights is possible only in exceptional circumstances.

    Patents - If the annuity is not paid until the end of the month, in which the filing date happens to be, the respective Law provides for a 6-month grace period for payment of the annuity with an extra charge of 25%.

    Trade marks - If the renewal fee is not paid within a prescribed time limit, the Law provides for a 6-month grace period for payment of the renewal fee with an extra charge of 90 EUR.

    Designs - If the renewal fee is not paid within a prescribed time limit, a 6-month grace period is provided for payment of the renewal fee with and an extra charge of 70 EUR.

  11. What are the requirements to assign ownership of each of the intellectual property rights described above?

    Patents – The owner of a patent has the right to transfer the patent to another person together with the undertaking or a part thereof utilising such a patent, or independently from it.

    Trade marks - The owner of a trade mark is entitled to transfer the trade mark to another person in relation to one, several or all of the goods or services for which the mark is registered, together with the undertaking, or a part thereof, that has been using this mark, or separately from the said undertaking.

    Designs - The owner of a design may transfer the ownership rights to the design to another person together with the undertaking or a part thereof that uses such design, or independently from such undertaking. In the case of multiple designs registration the owner may transfer the ownership rights in relation to one, several or all of the designs included in this registration.

    Copyright (including database rights) – Only economic rights of an author may be transferred to other successors in title (including legal persons).

  12. Is there a requirement to register an assignment of any of these intellectual property rights and, if so, what is the consequence of failing to register?

    Patents - The successor in title of the registered design must inform the Latvian Patent Office on the change in respect ownership and register it. The person who has been entered into the Patent Register shall be considered the owner of the patent. Until the fixing of the change of the owner of the patent in the Patent Register, the successor of the right may not utilise the right resulting from the acquisition of a patent against third person.

    Trade mark – The owner of the mark must immediately inform the Latvian Patent Office on any change in respect of trademark ownership and register it. If the change in ownership is not timely registered the owner of the mark may encounter problems in case it is necessary to prove the ownership during any further proceedings.

    Registered designs - The successor in title of the registered design must inform the Latvian Patent Office on the change in respect ownership and register it. The person, who has been entered in the Register as the owner of a design, shall be considered the owner of the design. Before the change of an owner is entered in the Register, the successor in title may not exercise the rights arising from the registration of the design.

    Copyright (including database rights) – No.

  13. What are the requirements to licence a third party to use each of the intellectual property rights described above?

    Copyright (including database rights) – All licences shall be issued in writing however a licensing agreement may be entered into either orally or in writing except the following licensing agreements which shall be entered into in writing: a publishing contract; a contract for the communicating to the public of a work; a contract for creating an audio-visual work; a contract specifying such rights as are included in a compulsory licence or an exclusive licence.

  14. Is there a requirement to register a licence of any of these intellectual property rights and, if so, what is the consequence of failing to register?

    Patents - In relation to third persons, the licence contract shall come into force following the registration thereof in the Patent Office. A State fee shall be paid for the registration of the licence contract.

    As there is no legal requirement to register a license agreement in respect of trademarks and designs in Latvia, the fact that the information about a licensing agreement is not entered in the Register or is not published, does not constitute grounds for opposing the validity of a trade mark/design or for opposing the right of a licensee to intervene in an action for trade mark/design infringement instituted by the owner of the trade mark/design or for opposing the right of a licensee to receive compensation for the damages caused by unlawful use of the licensed trade mark/design.

    Copyright (including database rights) – No.

  15. Are exclusive and non-exclusive licensees given different rights in respect of the enforcement of the licensed IP, and if so, how do those rights differ?

    In case of an exclusive licence the licensee receives exclusive rights to use the respective intellectual property object in accordance with the provisions provided for in the licensing agreement and the licensor retains the right to use the object insofar as this right has not been transferred to the licensee. In case of non-exclusive licence, the licensor, when granting to another person the right to use the intellectual property object, reserves the right to use this object, as well as the right to grant a sublicence for the same object to third persons.

    The holder of the exclusive license may bring an infringement proceeding on its own, whereas the holder of non-exclusive license require the owner's consent to bring an infringement action. (the holder of non-exclusive license may join an infringement action brought by the owner)

    Copyright (including database rights) – No.

  16. Are there criminal sanctions for infringement of any intellectual property rights, and if so, what are they and how are they invoked?

    According to the Criminal Law of Latvia, Section 206. (Illegal Use of Trademarks, Other Distinguishing Marks and Designs) for a person who commits illegal using of a trademark, other distinguishing marks for goods or services or unauthorised using of a design, counterfeiting a mark or knowingly using or distributing a counterfeit mark, if it has been committed on a significant scale or it has caused substantial harm to the State, or to the interests of a person protected by the law, the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to two years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine. If the criminal offence has been committed by a group of persons according to a prior agreement, the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to four years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine. If the criminal offence has been committed in large scale or by an organised group the applicable punishment is deprivation of liberty for a period up to six years, with deprivation of the right to engage in specific employment for a period up to five years, with deprivation of the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity of a specific type or of all types or the right to take up a specific office, and with or without probationary supervision for a period up to three years. The investigation is made by police, prosecution by public prosecutors office, and court proceedings happen in criminal court.

    There are no criminal sanctions for patent infringement in Latvia. Neither there are criminal sanctions for infringement of plants variety or semiconductor topography rights.

    Copyright (including database rights) - For a person who commits infringement of copyright or neighbouring right, if such infringement has caused substantial harm to rights and interests protected by law of a person, the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to two years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine. If the criminal offence has been committed by a group of persons according to a prior agreement, the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to four years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine. For a person who commits infringement of copyright or neighbouring right if it is committed in large scale or by an organised group, or by compelling, by means of violence, threats or blackmail, the renouncing of authorship, or commits compelling of joint authorship, if it is committed by means of violence, threats or blackmail, the applicable punishment is deprivation of liberty for a period up to six years, with deprivation of the right to engage in specific employment for a period up to five years and with or without probationary supervision for a period up to three years. The investigation is made by police, prosecution by public prosecutors office, and court proceedings happen in criminal court.

  17. What other enforcement options are available for each of the intellectual property rights described above? For example, civil court proceedings, intellectual property office proceedings, administrative proceedings, alternative dispute resolution.

    Patents - Enforcement is possible mainly through civil court proceedings. A patent can be enforced before Vidzeme Suburb Court of Riga City as a court of first instance.

    Trade marks:

    • Civil court proceedings
    • Board of Appeal proceedings
    • Customs proceedings
    • Copyright (including database rights) - Civil court proceedings
    • Copyright (including database rights) - Customs proceedings
  18. What is the length and cost of such procedures?

    Patents: Civil court proceedings for the first instance take about one-two years and the costs of such proceedings depend on the circumstances and complexity of the case.

    Trade marks:

    • Civil court proceedings – the lengths is 1 year per one instance. Official fee is 230 EUR, the costs of the whole proceedings depend on the circumstances and complexity of the case, namely, on the other party's reaction and actions performed.
    • Board of Appeal proceedings - usually, the opposition procedure takes 12 months to be accomplished. Official fee is 180 EUR, the total costs of such proceedings depend on the circumstances and complexity of the case, namely, on the other party's reaction and actions performed.Customs proceedings – usually takes up to 6 months from the time the goods are detained till they are destructed, if no appeal has been filed.
  19. Where court action is available, please provide details of which court(s) have jurisdiction, how to start proceedings, the basics of the procedure, the time to trial, the format of the trial, the time to judgment and award of relief and whether any appeal is available.

    Patents - The time period for the submission of a claim to a court for a patent infringement is three years from the time when the patent owner knew or should have known that his rights had been violated. A decision of the first instance court can be appealed to the Riga Regional Court as a court of appeal. Decisions of the lower courts might be reviewed by the Supreme Court. A written statement of claim must be submitted to the court along with payment of fees to commence proceedings. The standard court fee is 220 EUR. On average, it takes 6-8 months to reach a trial.

    • Trade marks - An action should be brought in the Vidzeme Suburb Court of Riga City. The standard civil proceedings apply to these cases. The proceedings are oral. One instance usually takes around 12 months to be accomplished, however it may take longer due to postponement if asked by parties. Decision of the court is appealable with the Riga District Court. Costs recovery is available only for Attorney’s at Law.
    • Copyright (including database rights) - An action should be brought in the civil court by general jurisdiction. The standard civil proceedings apply to these cases. The proceedings are oral. One instance usually takes around 12 months to be accomplished, however it may take longer due to postponement if asked by parties. Decision of the court is appealable with higher instance Court. Costs recovery is available only for Attorney’s at Law.
  20. What customs procedures are available to stop the import and/or export of infringing goods?

    Trade marks - To stop the import and/or export of infringing goods it is possible to file National/EU wide Customs Application for action.

    Patents - Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights is fully applicable. It is possible to file a Customs application for action with regard to a patent and seek the application of a simplified procedure under Article 23 thereof.

  21. Are any non-court enforcement options or dispute resolution mechanisms mandatory in respect of intellectual property disputes in any circumstances? If so, please provide details.

    No, non-court enforcement options or dispute resolution mechanisms are not mandatory (even if they exist).

  22. What options are available to settle intellectual property disputes?

    To settle intellectual property disputes it is possible to either file an opposition with the Board of Appeal (in case of trade mark registration only) or to file a court claim. The parties, of course, can seek an agreement also by negotiation.

  23. What is required to establish infringement of each of the intellectual property rights described above? What evidence is necessary in this context?

    Patents - For patents, it is required to establish that the alleged infringer made one or several of the following acts:

    - Produce, offer for sale, distribute in another way on the market, or use the patented product, or import, export or store the patented product for any of these purposes.

    - To use the patented method.

    - Offer for sale, distribute on the market in another way or use a product directly acquired with the patented method, or import, export or store a product directly acquired with the patented method.

    - Supply, or offer for supply, essential elements of the patented product if the third party knew (or should have known in the relevant circumstances) that those essential elements are suitable and were intended for the implementation of the invention.

    Trade marks - Unlawful use of a trade mark shall be construed as an infringement of the exclusive rights of the trade mark owner, namely, the use, in commercial activities, without the consent of the owner of the trade mark. In this context, firstly, it is necessary to establish that there exists an earlier trade mark, secondly, that the use of it by the other party is without the consent of the trade mark owner and, thirdly, that the use is in commercial activities. The scope of evidence differs in each case depending on the actual circumstances.

    Copyright (including database rights) - Violations of copyright and related rights shall be deemed to be activities by which the personal or economic rights of the rightholders are infringed. The scope of evidence differs in each case depending on the actual circumstances.

  24. How does the court acquire any necessary information (fact or technical) and in what circumstances does it do so? In particular a) Is there a technical judge, a judge with technical experience, a court appointed expert, an expert agreed by the parties, and/or parties’ expert witness evidence? b) What mechanisms are available for compelling the obtaining and protecting of evidence? Is disclosure or discovery available?

    a) Is there a technical judge, a judge with technical experience, a court appointed expert, an expert agreed by the parties, and/or parties' expert witness evidence?

    Patents - There are neither technical judge nor judges with technical experience. The court may appoint an expert, with or without agreement by the parties. The parties may represent an expert conclusion as evidence.

    In case of trade marks/trade names/copyright - no technical expertise is made.

    b) What mechanisms are available for compelling the obtaining and protecting of evidence? Is disclosure or discovery available?

    Patents - The disclosure is available in a very limited form; the court may request a party to provide certain information if this information is relevant to the case.

    Trade marks:

    According to the Civil Procedure Law, if a person has a reason to believe that the submission of the necessary evidence on their behalf may later be impossible or problematic, they may request for such evidence to be secured. Applications for securing evidence may be submitted at any stage of the proceedings, as well as prior to the bringing of an action to a court.

    Also according to the Civil Procedure Law a court or a judge is entitled to require, upon a reasoned request from a participant in the case, written evidence from the State and local government institutions and from other natural or legal persons.

  25. How is information and evidence submitted to the court scrutinised? For example, is cross-examination available and if so, how frequently is it employed in practice?

    Patents - Information and evidence filed by one party are available for scrutiny and comment by another party. Relevant questions can be asked during the hearing about the information and evidence.

    Trade marks - According to the Civil Procedure Law, written evidence or the minutes of the examination thereof shall be read at a court hearing or presented to participants in the case, and, if necessary, also to experts and witnesses. Whereas material evidence shall be examined at a court hearing and presented to the participants in the case, and, where necessary, also to experts and witnesses. Participants in the case may provide explanations regarding material evidence and express their opinions and requests. Minutes of the examination of material evidence, written pursuant to the procedures for securing evidence or a court assignment, shall be read at a court hearing.

  26. What defences to infringement are available?

    Patents - For alleged patent infringement the following defences are available.

    Prior use.

    Exhaustion of rights.

    Limitations of rights, the following is not consider an infringe:

    - activities performed for personal needs and non-commercial purposes;

    - experimental or investigative activities;

    - examination of the subject of a patented invention, as well as research of medicinal products or plant - protection carried out in order to obtain permission to distribute them on the market;

    - single preparation of medicinal products by a doctor's prescription in a pharmacy;

    - use of the invention in the construction or exploitation of a foreign vehicle which is temporarily or accidentally located in Latvia.

    A patent invalidity action. The invalidity action, if accepted, will be heard by the same court as the infringement procedure.

    Trade marks - It is available to send a cease and desist letter, to file a court claim and to file applications with the Customs Authorities/ Economic Police Department.

  27. Who can challenge each of the intellectual property rights described above?

    Trade marks:

    • Opposition to the registration of a trade mark may submit interested persons. Any person may file an opposition on absolute grounds or personal rights. The owners of earlier rights (their successors) may file opposition based on relative grounds.
    • A trade mark registration may be invalidated by the judgment of a court based on absolute and relative grounds by the same persons who are entitled to file the above mentioned oppositions.
    • A trade mark registration may be revoked by a judgment of the court if the trade mark, after its registration, has not been actually used for a period of five successive years in connection with the goods and services for which it is registered, and if there are not valid reasons for non-use. Any interested party may bring an action in the court.
  28. When may a challenge to these intellectual property rights be made (e.g. during any registration process or at any time during the subsistence of the right)?

    Patents - For patents, the patent validity may be challenged at any time.

    Trade marks - Opposition may be filed within three months from the date of the publication of a trade mark. The claim for invalidation of a trade mark may be filed no later than 5 years after the person learned about the use of this trade mark. A claim for revocation may be filed any time accordingly taking into account that a period of five successive years must have passed after the registration/last time the trade mark was used.

  29. Briefly, what is the forum and the procedure for challenging each of these intellectual property rights and what are the grounds for a finding of invalidity of each of these intellectual property rights?

    Patents - An opposition procedure is available within nine months following the publication of the notification of the grant of a national patent on the following grounds:

    - The subject matter is not patentable (discoveries, scientific theories and mathematic methods, aesthetic creations, schemes, intellectual activities, rules and methods for commercial activities and games, as well as computer programs, methods for the presentation of information; inventions in conflict with public order or the principles of morality accepted in society; plant or animal varieties, or the basically biological methods for the acquisition of plant or animal varieties; biotechnological inventions pertaining to human cloning, modification of the genetic identity of human beings in germ cells, utilisation of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes and methods for modifying the genetic identity of animals likely to cause them suffering without any substantial medical benefit to people or animals, as well as animals resulting from such methods; a human body in different stages of formation and development and a simple discovery of one of its elements, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene; therapeutic or surgical treatment methods and diagnostic methods, which are used in relation to the human or animal body.).

    - It is not capable of industrial application.

    - There is an incomplete, unclear or insufficiently determined description (disclosure) of the invention.

    There have been inadmissible amendments (changing the essence of the invention and/or extending the scope of the claims).

    For patents, a patent invalidation action, that is a civil court procedure, is available at any time after patent grant. The dedicated court is Vidzeme Suburb Court of Riga City as a court of first instance.

    The following may be ground for invalidation of patents:

    - The subject matter is not patentable.

    - The subject of the patent does not conform to the requirements for patentability (novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability).

    - The essence of the invention has not been revealed in the patent as clearly and entirely as is possible, to the extent that a specialist would be able to implement such invention.

    - The subject of the patent exceeds the remit of the initially submitted patent application.

    - The patent has been granted to a person who did not have the right to receive it.

    Trade marks - A trade mark registration may be invalidated by the judgment of a court based on absolute and relative grounds by any person on absolute grounds or personal rights and by the owners of earlier rights (their successors) on relative grounds. The action should be brought in the Vidzeme Suburb Court of Riga City within 5 years the person learned about the use of this trademark.

  30. Are there any other methods to remove or limit the effect of any of the intellectual property rights described above, for example, declaratory relief or licences of right?

    Patents - Declaratory relief is not available in Latvia. Compulsory license is provided by the patent law.

    Trade marks - The owners of trademarks may agree voluntary by signing a coexistence agreement on the division of territory, special use etc.

  31. What remedies (both interim and final) are available for infringement of each of the intellectual property rights described above?

    Patents - Compensation of damages and moral damages, a court order to stop using the invention and prohibition of any further use, including withdrawal of the infringing products from the market and distribution channels. The court judgment, in part or in full, may also be published in newspapers and other mass media. According to the law it is possible to request the following forms of damages: direct or indirect losses, including lost profits; and a licence fee or unfair (illegally gained) profits. The law also provides a possibility to request compensation for moral damages. The amount of such damages is determined solely on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties. Punitive damages are not permitted.

    Trade marks:

    • Provisional remedies

    - seizing of such movable property with which the intellectual property rights are allegedly being infringed;

    - an obligation to recall goods with which it is alleged that the intellectual property rights are being infringed;

    - a prohibition to perform specific activities by both the defendant and persons whose provided services are used in order to infringe the intellectual property rights, or persons who make it possible for the committing of such infringements.

    • Final remedies

    - stop and prohibit the use of unlawful objects of intellectual property rights;

    - stop and prohibit measures, which are recognised as preparation for the unlawful use of objects of intellectual property rights;

    - stop and prohibit the provision of services, which are used for unlawful activities with objects of intellectual property rights by persons:

    a) the services of whom are used in order to infringe the rights of the holder of the intellectual property rights, or

    b) who make possible the performance of such infringements;

    - in accordance with the procedures laid down in law, reimburse the losses and moral damages caused due to unlawful use of an object of intellectual property rights;

    - cancel or withdraw completely the infringing goods (infringing copies) from trade;

    - destroy the infringing goods (infringing copies);

    - cancel or withdraw completely from trade the facilities and materials used or intended to be used for making of the infringing goods (infringing copies) if the owner thereof knew or should have known from the circumstances that such facilities and materials have been used or intended for the performance of unlawful activities;

    - fully or partially publicize the court judgment in newspapers and other mass media.

    Plant varieties - Compensation of damages and moral damages.

    Semiconductor topography rights - The same remedies are available as for patent infringement.

  32. What are the costs of enforcement proceedings and is any kind of costs recovery available for successful parties? Is there a procedural mechanism enabling or requiring security for costs?

    Patents - Costs in each case differ and depend on the actions performed and time spent. Costs recovery is available only for Attorney’s at Law. A separate civil court action is required to recover the costs. Security may be required in case of interim injunction, the security is request by the court and the interim injunction may not come into force until the security is deposited.

    Trade marks - Costs in each case differ and depend on the actions performed and time spent. Costs recovery is available only for Attorney’s at Law. There is no procedural mechanism enabling security for costs.