December 2017


From 26 February to 1 March 2018, Barcelona will host the Mobile World Congress (“MWC”), the world’s largest congress for the mobile industry (and its associated industries, such as information technology, videogames and telecommunications in general). According to official figures, MWC 2017 attracted more than 108,000 attendees from 208 countries, and it was covered by more than 3,500 journalists from all over the world. In short, the MWC is an indispensable event for all those who work in the new technologies sector.

As a global platform, many of the mobile phone industry’s leading companies use the MWC to unveil their latest products and to give an insight into some of the projects they are currently developing. This showcasing of creativity and innovation is also a prime opportunity for offences to be committed in a multitude of fields, such as intellectual property, trademarks, patents, industrial designs, competition law and unfair competition, such as acts of unfair advertising. As a result, some companies may decide to take legal action and seek inaudita parte precautionary measures prior to filing a claim with the intention of preventing or hampering the worldwide presentation of a new product during the MWC.

The courts with territorial jurisdiction over proceedings of this type filed during the MWC are the Commercial Courts of Barcelona. In order to guarantee a fast, balanced and effective system of precautionary protection, on 13 December 2017 (for the fourth consecutive year) the Assembly of Commercial Court Judges of Barcelona adopted an on-call rapid response protocol that will apply during February and until the end of the MWC.

Under the protocol:

a) Protective letters may be filed in advance before the Commercial Courts of Barcelona by those who have well-founded concerns that industrial or intellectual property precautionary measures may be sought in relation to their products or services during the MWC. The aim of these protective letters is to avoid, as far as possible, the adoption of precautionary measures without the interested party being heard.

b) Priority is to be given to the processing (with or without hearing the other party) of applications for urgent precautionary measures aimed at protecting technological innovations and industrial designs that are to be presented in the MWC; as well as claims for trademark and copyright infringements, and antitrust, unfair competition and illegal advertising actions in connection with products that are exhibited in the MWC.

c) Judges will hand down a decision

(i) within two days of the filing of an application for precautionary measures when there is no hearing; and

(ii) within ten days of the filing of an application for precautionary measures when a hearing is scheduled and provided that a protective letter has been sent.

d) In order to assess if the urgency requirements that would permit the judges to adopt precautionary measures without a hearing are met, special consideration will be given to the previous conduct of the defendant. The judges will determine when the defendant could reasonably have known about the disputed matter, in order to assess whether or not the defendant could have reasonably sought interim protection. As such, the key factor is whether the matter is urgent, or if steps could have been taken sooner, provided that the party requesting the precautionary measure has acted with the necessary diligence.

The Assembly of Commercial Court Judges of Barcelona has submitted the protocol for approval to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, and subsequently to the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary.

At Uría Menéndez we have extensive experience in the areas affected by this protocol. We have advised several clients on pre-litigation issues and technology protection matters in previous editions of the MWC. If you have any queries or you require legal advice in relation to precautionary proceedings in Spain, protective letters or the protection of intellectual property rights, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to assist you.


In case of any doubts or comments, please do not hesitate to contact:


Montiano Monteagudo


Núria Porxas


Francisco J. García



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