Como complemento de la anterior entrada, también debo reseñar brevemente el igualmente interesante estudio en materia de copias parasitarias o limitaciones: “Report on Parasitic Copying for the European Commission”. Nos movemos en un ámbito mucho más cercano a la regulación de la competencia desleal, si bien el estudio del problema desde una perspectiva europea comienza destacando la dificultad de determinar en qué consiste la conducta sancionable. Esto se señala al inicio del Informe en sus párrafos 6 a 8:
“6. One of the aims of this Study is to identify whether the current protection available to brand owners to prevent parasitic copying is sufficient to ensure free and effective competition.
7. That protection is sometimes derived from harmonised registered trade mark law, design law or copyright law. Protection may also be granted regardless of whether or not the victims of parasitic copying hold intellectual property rights. In particular, the EC Directive concerning Unfair Business-to-Consumer Commercial Practices in the Internal Market (“EC Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2008/95/EC”) as transposed into the national laws of the Member States may also give undertakings which are victims of parasitic copying the right to take legal action against parasitic copiers.
8. As the right to take action is of little use without a consideration of the availability of appropriate relief from a court, we also considered whether the EC Directive on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (“Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC”) has also improved a plaintiff’s chance of taking action against a parasitic copy”.
Aunque en principio el Informe estaba dedicado a la revisión de la situación en 6 Estados miembros, se explica que la situación española ha tenido una especial consideración. La razón para ello es la alerta que desde algunas asociaciones se hizo sobre el sistema español de ejecución o tutela con respecto a determinadas prácticas desleales (v. apartado 32 del Informe).
En sus conclusiones y recomendaciones, Hogan Lovells advierte de la disparidad de situaciones que se han producido en los Estados miembros en la incorporación de la Directiva sobre prácticas comerciales desleales, pero también en la que considera una equivocada visión de la propia función de esta directiva consistente en entender que lo que se busca es la mera protección de los consumidores ignorando que la prevención de la imitación de manera indirecta afecta a los consumidores, sin prejuicio de la protección que pueda implicar para los productores titulares de las marcas que sean objeto de vulneración:
“106. Our investigations suggest that the current regimes of protection available in Member States in respect of parasitic copying and the enforcement options open to rights holders are inconsistent and lead to different results in different Member States. This occurs in part because, as we have already established, views as to whether and when parasitic
copying should be actionable differ across the European Union.
107. Even where there is a framework of sorts that has been established by Community law, implementation and enforcement is a matter of national law, which naturally leads to inconsistencies.The different treatments afforded to parasitic copies across the European Union could amount to a barrier to trade within the internal market of the European Union.
108. Whilst the enactment of the EC Unfair Commercial Practices Directive has improved the protection available to parasitic copies in a few Member States, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule.
109. The main reason for this seems to be that Member States did not regard the primary purpose of the Directive to be the prevention of parasitic copies, which Member States see as an issue that primarily affects rights holders rather than consumers.Instead, the Directive was perceived to be a consumer protection measure, and so although it was open to Member States to enact provisions that prevented parasitic copying and which gave private rights holders a right of action, many chose not to do so. As a result, any protection provided in respect of the prevention of parasitic copies as a result of the Directive was at best incidental and in any case not consistently applied across the European Union.
110. As a result, if the Commission were to take the view that it is necessary to harmonise the position on parasitic copies, then we would make the following recommendations.
111. Based on our understanding of how the EC Unfair Commercial Practices Directive has been implemented, any parasitic copying legislation should include a clear and precise indication of its intended nature, its aims and objectives so as to make it entirely clear to a Member State when the approach it had previously adopted is insufficient and/or inapplicable.
112. Specialist courts should be the only judicial arena in which claims relating to parasitic copying claims are heard. In the majority of cases, we submit that it would be sufficient if they were heard in the same courts as trade mark infringement and unfair competition/passing off claims. This would mean that such claims can be heard costeffectively together with whatever other intellectual property infringement claims may also apply. It would also ensure that a pool of specialist judicial experience and expertise is established as such courts become familiar with the requirements of any new harmonising law.
113. Consideration should be given to extending relevant provisions in the Enforcement Directive (particularly those dealing with the provision by the defendant of relevant information concerning its activities and remedies) to parasitic copying cases so that they are uniformly and clearly available across the European Union, as this does not appear presently to be the case”.
Madrid, 6 de febrero de 2012