Back in March the European Union's General Court (GC) agreed to reform its Rules of Procedure. The revised legal text introduces some important new rules in the section relating to industrial and intellectual property cases (court proceedings relating to Community trademarks and Community designs). Some of the most significant new rules adopted are as follows:
- In direct appeals the language of the proceedings shall be that chosen by the plaintiff among the official EU languages. In the event of an objection to the language of the appeal by a party to the proceedings, the language of the decision of the Board of Appeal of the OHIM that is contested before the GC shall become the language of the proceeding.
- The possibility of supplementing the initial briefs of the parties via briefs of reply or rejoinders has been removed.
- A cross-claim by a party to the proceedings must be submitted in a document separate from the brief of response to the appeal.
- A cross-claim shall be deemed to be devoid of purpose when the applicant in the main appeal discontinues the main action and when the main action is declared manifestly inadmissible.
- In terms of costs, under the new rules the General Court may order the OHIM to bear only its own costs where an appeal is successful (with the successful applicant paying its own).
- The possibility of appeals of this type being resolved by a single judge has been introduced.
In addition, under the new rules the Advocate General may intervene in appeals of this type whenever the difficulty or complexity of the case requires it.