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brexit

What will be the effects of BREXIT on E.U. brands?

By | News

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has clarified in its statement that the E.U. trademarks which are already registered will cease to be protected in the United Kingdom since the date of its withdrawal from the European Union.

Similarly, any new application for an EU trademark after the date of UK’s withdrawal from the E.U. will no longer include the United Kingdom in the countries where the trademark will be protected. The beneficiaries of a registered EU trademark and all those who wish to register their trademark in the United Kingdom will be obliged to follow the trademark registration process through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The cost of vesting depends on the type of the trademark and on the number of classes to which it corresponds.

In order to avoid a gap in the protection of the EU trademarks that are already registered in the United Kingdom, the recipients will have to make new applications before the United Kingdom exits the E.U.

Rhetor Law Firm specializes in intellectual and industrial property issues of companies and organizations (trademarks registration, industrial designs vesting, patents and utility models as well as intellectual property copyrights i.e. software, authors’ intellectual rights etc.).

 

Iliana Kosti,

Lawlyer, LLM

man hand robot

Artificial intelligence in our lives and the legal issues that will arise in the future

By | News

Artificial intelligence is part of our lives more than we realize; from the algorithm which allows us to make electronic payments, the algorithms that answer us when we pose a question to websites of big companies as if they were people up to the “smart broom”, the image recognition applications, “smart” cars and many other applications in our lives. The basis of artificial intelligence is data. Their processing and management are the revolution of our times, potentially with much greater impact on mankind than even the industrial revolution.

Developments in the field of artificial intelligence, while helpful and expected to contribute much more to the improvement of living and to the increase of life expectancy, are already growing rapidly, especially in the health sector (through the automatic processing of a large set of data and the automation of both diagnosis and prevention, the more precise and rapid surgical intervention, the discovery and interpretation of the causes of medical cases), the protection of the environment and the management of global catastrophes (observation, classification, and management of global systems, energy saving, predictions on the behavior and needs of the world’s species, disaster forecasts, the development of protection instruments etc.), the development and management of alternative energy sources, the transportations (The “smart” car is already “on the road” creating huge debates on the management of ethical issues), the entrepreneurship (through the development of methods of analysis and forecasting, through automation of processes etc.), geolocation systems, the natural language processing, the natural language genetration and communication.

Enormous legal issues arise from the above aspects and from many more which concerns the specific field of science and technology, thus presenting the need to address legal issues such as:

  1. What is the definition of an individual? The legal definition of the concept of human, humanoid, machine and related artificial intelligence will be required in matters such as: the definition of default, the acquiring full or limited rights or not acquiring them, as well as regulating intellectual property issues. From philosophical point of view, questions such as what will distinguish man from an artificial intelligence machine, since both have the ability of logical thinking, creation, dialogue and synthesis. Does mankind create a new framework of “slavery”?
  2. Rights: Are artificially intelligent products with an autonomous personality entitled to rights? Will their rights be graded according to the degree of intelligence and autonomy of each machine? What are the obligations of the individual towards them? Will the rights be created on a basis of equality with the human being or will the law of right of pets be adopted, whereas the man -owner will have the same obligations against the law? An artificial intelligence product will be property of a human being or should it be entitled, and the artificial intelligence product should refuse or opt for an owner? Which other legislative model could regulate these issues?
  3. Personal data: People’s personal data are collected continuously from sources that people might not be aware of. Is the existing protection framework enough to regulate their protection and proper use? Additionally, could we talk in the future about personal data of artificial intelligence products and under what conditions could that be? In a conversation between a human and a machine which legislative framework for privacy completion will be implemented?
  4. Culpability: Based on the moral test known as the “trolley problem”, fully automated car which chooses to drift and kill the pedestrian who stands in front of it instead of suddenly braking or turning towards right or left where the obstacle exists in order to aid injury of the passengers is an advanced version. Who is responsible for the crime? The car manufacturer? The developer of the car? The owner of the car? The car itself which may have worked out all the data it could collect from its environment and took voluntarily the decision to hit the pedestrian? And what legal rules will be applied? Under which jurisdiction?
  5. Intellectual Property: Evolution in artificial intelligence also poses challenges in the field of intellectual property products. Could an artificial intelligence product be the only beneficiary or co-owner in a patent or industrial design? And under which circumstances? Could it be considered as a copyright holder of a painting, a book, a musical composition or even a scientific analysis?
  6. Data, security and protection of privacy: Artificial intelligence products collect personal data, but what kind of guarantees exist that these data are adequately protected or managed based on national (and European) legal rules or even generally accepted ethical rules? A typical example are social chatbots (under Bi), whose function is based on the collection of personal data of the people they talk to and which they use both in a subsequent conversation with the same person and in conversations with other people. Since it is practically impossible to be invisible online, how feasible is the adequate protection of privacy and under which legal framework?
  7. Competition and consumer protection issues: In this very wide field of life, we ask questions such as: Which framework regulates the case where a robot is not suitable for the intended use? Could it be guilty of misleading conduct or part of collusion against a competing company? Should the degree of initiative that an artificial intelligence product takes be defined when it trades on behalf of third parties? Where should the legislature’s intervention be stopped for the sake of science?
  8. Jurisdiction issues: The use of artificial intelligence products does not know borders. Therefore, the question that arises is what kind of law is applicable in the event of a violation of a person’s right, in the event of a tort, or in the case of a criminal offense.
  9. Ethical issues: A dominant issue in terms of artificial intelligence is the moral part. Questions such as “is it feasible, but is it moral?” or “in the case of a lose-lose situation (i.e. “smart” car) what is the most ethical choice?” or even “in case the artificial intelligence minimizes jobs, how will the governments react to this situation?”, concern people and legislators. Hypothetical scenarios are created without yet having answers for the most ethically correct option that an artificial intelligence product should be “forced” to have.

The debate on the above issues is expected to be long, and developments in technology are unstoppable. The only certainty is that a new era has already begun for mankind and it is up to us to use the new instruments that are gradually being put to our disposal.

Iliana Costis,

Lawyer, LLM professional in intellectual property issues, personal data and artificial intelligence

What is true about European Payment Orders?

By | News

In a specific case handled by the Rhetor Law Firm with the decision No. 309/21-2-2019, the Thessaloniki County Court applied the European Regulation to a cross-border dispute, accepting the factual and legal claims of the applicant creditor, whose claim for money will be directly met.

On 1.1.2007, Regulation (EC) 1896/2006 was established and regulates the procedure for the European order for payment. The activation of this European mechanism aims at the fast and effective collection of uncontested claims, as late payments are one of the main causes of bankruptcy that threatens particularly small and medium – sized enterprises.

Both the content and the effectiveness of payment order procedures in the Member States of the European Union vary considerably. In addition, in many cases the existing national procedures are inapplicable in cross-border cases.

It is therefore clear that the prospect of national payment order procedures is particularly difficult or impossible in the case of cross-border disputes. These obstacles demand the intervention of the European legislator to ensure the existence of equal terms for creditors and debtors throughout the EU.

The aim of a European order is to simplify, speed up and reduce the costs of cross-border disputes regarding the uncontested financial claims and to ensure the free circulation of European payment orders in all Member States. In this way, the creditor’s claim is directly met, even if it results from a definite claim and reflects the normality of business life.

Rhetor Law Firm and its qualified associates, checking the conditions for the application of the above regulation, can assist in the process of meeting your financial claims and within the EU.

Vivi Pitsari

Attorney at law

CONTACT WITH ONE OF OUR SPECIALIZED PARTNERS
andreas papamimikos

Macedonian trademarks: The next day

By | News

With the Prespes Agreement now being an accomplished reality, and with the International Experts Committee of paragraph 8 Article 3 of Part 1 of the Agreement, which will be required to regulate copyright issues between the two countries, the following questions are genuinely raised by entrepreneurs whose trademarks contain the word “Macedonia” or its derivatives:

  1. After the Prespes Agreement, has the procedure for the registration of trademarks containing the word “Macedonia” or its derivatives changed?

Until the intellectual property issues will be regulated by the International Expert Group, no change exists in the registration process. Any interested party, if the right is established, can guarantee a trademark incorporating the words “Macedonia”, “Macedonian” and any derivative in Greece and the EU.

  1. Is the country specific label mandatory?

There is no such obligation now.

  1. Is it true that special services responsible for receiving trademark applications (Ministry of Development and Economy, European Union Intellectual Property Office – EUIPO) delay the registration of trademarks with the words “Macedonia”, “Macedonian” or its derivative, as rumored to be true in the neighboring country?

This reputation is not true. The procedures in Greece and the EU have not been modified, and the vesting schedules are followed as for all applications. In any case, any delay will only theoretically delay the right to use the trademark and not the starting point of protection, as once the registration is complete – even late – the protection period will start retrospectively from the date of filing the application. The principle of time priority is not removed anymore.

  1. What steps should be taken by the Greek entrepreneur who wishes to guarantee his/her trademark, which contains the word “Macedonia” or its derivatives?

Anyone claiming a right should immediately file an application for the trademark registration, as patents are based on the principle of time priority of applications. At a protection’s width level, it is preferable to have a European registration – patent, as an application can be marketed throughout the EU, as opposed to the national protection that provides protection only within the Greek borders. Also, at a cost level, the European guarantee is more advantageous. The cost of pledging is calculated based on the number of classes (product/ service categories) to which each trademark corresponds.

Additionally, companies which export their products to the neighboring country – and in any other country is not a member of the EU, should file a registration application through the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

  1. Are the Greek trademarks at risk from lawsuits on behalf of the neighboring country’s operators on the ground that in the first case the trademarks relate to a region of a State while in the second case they relate to a State?

The neighboring country’s entrepreneurs cannot prevent the use of trademark in the Greek territory as long as: (a) they do not sell their own similar product in the Greek Market, (b) even if their own similar product is sold in the Greek market, they have registered this right after the Greek right holder of the Greek trademark (principle of time priority).

The International Committee of Experts which will be set up in 2019 must preserve and safeguard the above – mentioned international rules on the protection of trademarks in such a way that no unfavorable exceptions are introduced violating the national and European rules for the Greek entrepreneurs.

ATTENTION: As soon as it joins the EU it means that the entrepreneur in that country will have, just like the Greek one, the right to register his/ her trademark across the EU, including Greece, and hence, its trademark will also be protected in Greece, even if the product is only sold and traded only in his/her country.

Therefore, it may prohibit the use of any similar brand – and hence the circulation of the product to which it corresponds – to Greece. That is why it is very important for Greek entrepreneurs to proceed immediately with the registration of their trademarks so that they can guarantee their rights in Greece and the EU in time and so that no one can ban their branding and circulation of their products in Greece and the EU.

 

What is changing in the Criminal Code? How will the work of justice accelerate? What is to be in force with the trademarks?

By | News

What is changing in the Criminal Code? How will the work of justice accelerate? What is to be in force with the trademarks?

The most important changes brought about the new legislation in the Criminal Code of the country are cited by the founder and co-owner of the Rhetor Law Firm, Mr. Andreas Papamimikos, who also positively welcomes the upcoming reform of the Criminal Code.

In an interview at Voria.gr Mr. Papamimikos underlines that long delays in the administration of justice and law enforcement consist an important inhibiting factor in attracting investment and presents his proposal in order to speed up the work of the judiciary.

Lastly, he makes a special reference to the issue of Macedonian trademarks, explaining precisely the validity and inviting the Greek businessmen to proceed immediately to the registrations – copyrights in order to ensure the use of their trademark and the circulation of their products in Greece and the European Union.

 

What is your view of the great upcoming reform of the Criminal Law of our country?

Firstly, if I have to place myself in the first place entirely according to my point, I believe that the reform has a positive sign. The committee, which started its work under the late John Manoledakis, composed of established members of the legal world, make a considerable and time-consuming effort in order to bring our criminal law into line with the needs and the concerns of our time.

There are some provisions that have caused a lot of controversy and talking, but the worst of all is when we the issue concerns planning, we cannot judge something which has a final form that we will not be able to know until it is voted by the General Assembly of the Parliament.

 

What kind of changes do you consider most important?

Very briefly, I believe that it is moving towards the right direction: a) the abolition of Law 1608/1950 for the abusers of public money, since the punishment of a property crime with the same punishment that manslaughter with intention is punished on an international level is clearly disproportionate; b) the elimination of wrongdoing and the punishment of specific offenses only at the administrative level, as the reality showed that the criminalization of specific behaviors did not act as a deterrent; c) the abolition of the institution of the conversion of the penalty into money, which favors the economically well –off and the promotion of the institution of charitable work as a basic way of alternative punishment, which is expected to have better efficiency for the society if only the appropriate infrastructure is taken care of; d) the abolition of one-member Courts of Appeal, as they may have helped in speeding up the administration of justice; however, this can be achieved on the one hand by better “filtering” of the cases at the stage of pre-trial, and on the other hand allowing to one person only, even with the guarantee of the judicial officer to judge the freedom of another person, has many possibilities of error that even if it is eventually healed in the end, it will have stigmatized him/her for his/her whole life.

 

Your law firm supports businessmen and traders. What is the opinion you have concerning the investments in Greece and the possibility of attracting new investments?

Greece could have much higher growth rates if there was a somewhat “friendlier” environment to investors who wish to invest money in the Greek market. A major obstacle in attracting and implementing new investments is the slow administration of justice, even today. Anyone can file an appeal, which can freeze an investment for almost a decade. Anyone can also anonymously file a complaint, which must be filed directly according to Law. However, in practice, this is not generally the case and can also hinder investment until the criminal mechanism has come to a decision.

 

Do you believe that easy access to justice prevents it from being more quickly administered?

I would never imply that any of us should not be entitled to access to justice. Such an opinion opposes my beliefs. However, these complaints must be filtered quickly, carefully and fairly. Neither do I think that the judges are responsible for delaying the assignment of their work, as they are charged with much work with all the files and they are also under pressure to be efficient. This is not the point of justice. The judge must be able to devote himself/herself to his/her spiritual work undistracted. For this reason, it should be supported by a greater number of judicial officers, to be given more and modern technological means, in order to reduce judicial bureaucracy, to spend much more money from the state budget on justice, which is clearly underfunded in relation to the European average and to promote even more alternative ways of resolving disputes such as arbitration and mediation.

 

After the Prespes agreement, do you think there are risks for Greek businessmen who produce products by using the words Macedonia, Macedonian etc.?

The Prespes agreement has not affected the principle of time – priority in the field of trademark law. The neighboring country’s entrepreneurs cannot prevent the use of a trademark on Greek territory if they: a) do not sell their own product in the Greek market; b) Even if their similar product is sold in the Greek market, they have their right fortified only after the Greek beneficiary who uses the registered Greek and European trademark. As soon as the neighboring country presumably joins the EU, the entrepreneur in the other country will be as able as the Greek one to register his/her trademark across the EU including Greece, and hence his/her trademark will also be protected within his/ her country. Consequently, it may be prohibited to use any similar trademark – and hence the circulation of the product to which it corresponds – to Greece. That is why it is very important for Greek entrepreneurs to proceed immediately with the registration of their trademarks so that they can guarantee their rights in Greece and the EU in time and so that no one could ever forbid the use of their trademark and the circulation of their products in Greece and the EU.

 

Legal Associate with expertise in Civil & Commercial Law (Athens based)

By | career, ΘΕΣΕΙΣ ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑΣ

We are currently recruiting for Legal Associate with expertise in Civil & Commercial Law (Αthens based), to join our team.

What we want

Our ideal candidate is a bright and ambitious lawyer that focuses on delivering work of high quality, commits to high levels of client service, and has the ability to build strong client relationships.

  • 5 years of work experience in Civil & Commercial Law
  • Excellent command of the English Language
  • Highly organized with excellent attention to detail
  • Team player, motivated and self-driven

What we offer

  • A competitive salary based on experience and skills
  • A performance based bonus scheme
  • Training and professional development

Send your resume (code R14) at hr@rhetor.gr

Send your CV here
vivi pitsari

Declaration of Real Property in Greece (By Vivi Pitsari)

By | News, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The Hellenic Cadastre records properties with absolute transparency and security and secures ownership of the real property of every citizen in Greece.  

Cadastral surveys document the boundaries of land ownership by the production of documents, diagrams, sketches, and plans that indicate location, shape, boundaries, etc.  

The cadastral survey requires those who have real estate rights in the cadastral areas of Greek territory to submit a declaration of ownership of their properties to the specific Cadastral Office of the area where the properties are located. 

The submission of the declaration of the property is mandatory and constitutes a prerequisite for any legal act concerning the property in the future (e.g. parental benefit, donation or transfer, issuing a building license in Greece).  

In the case that a property is not declared by the owner within the deadline of the cadastral survey, it will be recorded in the National Cadastre database as “UNKNOWN OWNER”. Consequently, the owners will have to turn to the courts in order to claim their properties.  

WHO MUST SUBMIT A DECLARATION? 

All persons or legal entities who have real estate or other registered property rights in Greece, such as ownership (full or limited ownership), usufructprenotification, or other real property encumbrance are required to submit a declaration of their right to the National Cadastre.  

If there are co-owners in a property, everyone must submit a separate declaration (e.g. limited ownership and usufruct of a property). 

HOW TO SUBMIT A DECLARATION 

The declaration can be submitted either to the specific Cadastral Survey Office in person, by proxy, or on-line at www.ktimatologio.gr. 

The deadline for submitting declarations is three (3) months for residents in Greece and six (6) months for non-residents in Greece. After the expiry of this deadline, the declaration is OVERDUE and an extra fine may be imposed depending on the value and the type of the properties. 

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS 

  • Title of property’s acquisition (notary documents, court decisions, administrative acts, inheritance documents).
  • Certificate of registration in the Land Registry.
  • Copy of identification card or passport.
  • Document with the Tax ID Number of the declarer (e.g. revenue statement or E9 or power bill etc.)
  • Exact location of the property (topographic document)

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS IN CASE OF ACQUISITION OF A RIGHT BY: 

Inheritance: Any right acquired by inheritance may be declared irrespectively of whether or not an inheritance has been received or a certificate of inheritance has been issued. 

The existence or non-existence of a will is decisive. In case of a will, the following documents must be submitted: a) title of the inheritor (if any), b) death certificate, c) a copy of the published will, d) certificate of non-publication of another will, and e) certificate of non-denial of inheritance. 

Where there is no will, the following documents must be submitted: (a) title of the inheritor (if any), (b) death certificate, (c) certificate of relatives, (d) certificate of non-publication of will, and (e) certificate of non-denial of inheritance. 

WAYS OF SUBMITTING A DECLARATION AVAILABLE TO EXPATRIATES 

  1. If the declaration is filled out, signed, and submitted by a third party on behalf of the beneficiary, it will be necessary to have a special authorization with certified signature authenticity which can be provided by the Embassy/Consulate in their country of residence. 
  2. By proxy already authorized with a special or general proxy document to administer their real estate in Greece.  
  3. By a third party with simple authorization. In this case, beneficiaries should dispatch their filled out and signed declaration together with the necessary documents by post. The authorized person must submit the declaration to the competent Cadastral Survey Office. 
  4. For the first time, the declaration can be submitted on-line using a special IT application found on the HELLENIC CADASTRE website www.ktimatologio.gr. In this case, the necessary documents submitted with the declaration will be sent by post to the competent Cadastral Survey Office and the fixed fee is paid by credit card.

Rhetor Law Firm is a Greek Law Firm (Athens & Thessaloniki) specialized in complex legal and property issues in Greece. Find more: www.rhetor.gr

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