Virtual “study visit” on the subject of intellectual property

Speakers at the event (from left to right, top to bottom): Manuel Soria Parra, Oliver Nilgen, Dr. Mathias Kochendörfer, Werner Albrecht, Karola Schober and Sabine Link
Speakers at the event (from left to right, top to bottom): Manuel Soria Parra, Oliver Nilgen, Dr. Mathias Kochendörfer, Werner Albrecht, Karola Schober and Sabine Link
Russian Federation

On 12 March 2021, IRZ organised a virtual “study visit” on the subject of intellectual property for Russian patent attorneys and representatives of the IP Court and Rospatent. Rospatent is the Russian equivalent of the German Trademark and Patent Office (DPMA). Around fifty participants followed the event with a great deal of interest.

At the proposal of the Russian partners, the virtual “study visit” dealt with the decline in trademark protection due to lack of use, well-known trademarks and geographical indications and designations of origin.

IRZ was able to enlist six German experts to deliver expert lectures at the event on the following topics:

  • “The decline in trademark protection due to lack of use in Germany and the EU and well-known trademarks” by Manuel Soria Parra (LL.M, a patent attorney, European Patent Attorney, European Trademark and Design Attorney) and Oliver Nilgen (a lawyer specialising in industrial property rights)
  • “The decline of a trademark due to lack of use in Germany” by Dr. Mathias Kochendörfer (a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main)
  • “The new EU application and protection system for geographical indications in the spirits sector” by Werner Albrecht (German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture)
  • “Agriculture and forestry – strategies to promote regional products in Bavaria” by Karola Schober (Bavarian State Ministry of Food)
  • “New developments in the area of geographical indications of origin” by Sabine Link (an expert in geographical indications and designation of origin at the German Trademark and Patent Office)

An interesting discovery for both sides was the fact that well-known trademarks in Germany play a rather minor role, since trademark owners have to continuously refer to them. In Russia, on the other hand, there is a separate legal institution and a special register for well-known trademarks, which guarantees lasting protection for these trademarks. There are many legal disputes concerning the registration and recognition of trademarks as being well-known.

The protection system for geographical indications was also met with a great deal of interest from the Russian audience, since this institution was only set up in Russia in 2020 and its distinction from the designation of origin and of previously registered trademarks is still being called into question regarding their application.

During the event, the participants had plenty of opportunities to chat with the speakers, which led to lively discussions after each lecture.

Conference on “Fighting corruption and the shadow economy: Questions concerning the effectiveness of legal mechanisms”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Russian Federation

On 10 December 2020, IRZ and the Law Academy of the Ministry of Justice for the Russian Federation organised a Russian-German scientific conference on “Fighting corruption and the shadow economy: Questions concerning the effectiveness of legal mechanisms”. The online event was aimed at around fifty participants, including:

  • public prosecutors,
  • lawyers,
  • academics and
  • students

Representing Germany as IRZ experts were Stefan Schlotter, Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Frankfurt am Main, and Karin Schreitter-Skvortsov, Senior Public Prosecutor at the Dresden Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Stefan Schlotter gave a report on investigations into corruption in Germany. He also presented the German penal provisions, gave an overview of police crime statistics and used examples of actual cases to demonstrate the problems encountered at hearings in the corruption sector. As a recognised expert in corruption and the confiscation of assets in corruption cases, Karin Schreitter-Skvortsov outlined a number of practical examples during her lecture.

Scientists and academics from the St. Petersburg branch of the Law Academy represented the Russian side at the event:

  • Dr. Elena Fomenko, a lecturer in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, gave a lecture on the “Provisions of criminal law for combating corruption: current trends, doctrines and practices”.
  • Dr. Juri Kondratyev, also a lecturer in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, spoke about the legitimacy of recovering assets under civil law when dealing with corruption.
  • Dr. Egor Trofimov, head of the Department for Administrative and Financial Law, and Svetlana Garcia, a lawyer at the St Petersburg Bar Association, together addressed the topic of the anti-corruption declaration in the ethical paradigm.

The online conference led to some lively and constructive discussions. During the lectures, the participants used the chat function to discuss the subjects. After the lectures, they could then ask the relevant speakers questions directly.

6th German-Russian legal forum: Freedom of expression of lawyers

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Russian Federation

On 10 December 2020, IRZ supported the 6th German-Russian legal forum organised by the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK) and the Russian Federal Bar Association (RFBA), which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme for the event was the “Limitations of critical statements by German and Russian lawyers in the fight for rights”. A total of around a hundred lawyers discussed the current situation in their profession. Dr. Frank Engelmann, a lawyer and President of the Brandenburg bar association, moderated the exchange of experiences.

BRAK expert lawyer, Otmar Kury, President of the board for professional law at the German Federal Bar Association in Hamburg, gave a lecture on “The rights of German lawyers to freedom of expression in the fight for rights” outlining the situation in Germany. He said that defamatory behaviour is irreconcilable with the status of lawyers and undermines their authority. Instead, lawyers should express and conduct themselves with politeness, tact and diligence. Otmar Kury covered the following main points during his lecture

  • moral criteria and traditions of lawyers in providing legal advice
  • concerns for the prestige of the profession
  • public trust in the legal profession
  • the authority of lawyers in legal counselling and in private lives as a moral duty

Michail Tolcheev, a lawyer and Vice-President of the RGBA in Moscow, and Nikolai Kipnis, a lawyer and member of the professional ethics committee of the RGBA in Moscow, gave lectures to present the Russian point of view. The participants also discussed the subject of “Limitations of critical and controversial opinions expressed by Russian lawyers on the justice system, public prosecutors and the public”. The online format made it possible to hold extensive talks following on from the experts’ lectures, discussing the many questions asked by the audience in depth.

The lawyers participating in the forum showed a great deal of interest in the exchange of experiences and expressed a wish to continue this series of events. After all, the independence of lawyers in general, and their freedom of speech in particular, are essential for them to practice the rule of law.