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Thursday
Mar012012

Carb Wars - Europe the Latest Evil Empire in the Greenhouse Gas Wars?

Litigation Los AngelesEnvironmental Litigation  

Stephen T. Holzer
818.907.3299

 

Just over a decade after the Cold War ended, we may be beginning another highly stressful, albeit less deadly face-off: a Carbon War. 

Highly stressful, because it will probably mean skyrocketing airfares in the near future. This will be bad for both individuals and companies that require travel to do business, international shippers and the businesses that rely on their services, and even the smaller mom-and-pop stores that thrive on the tourism economy.

Not to mention tensions between countries. 

Less deadly, because world Super Powers aren't pointing ballistic missiles at each other—at least not yet. 

Instead, they're levying fees: Unlike California's controversial Cap and Trade System, the European Union enacted a law that makes airline companies pay for greenhouse gas emissions outright. But they're not just taxing their own aircraft's carbon emissions, but all carriers coming into Europe. 

 

European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) Opposition 

 

The European Union has been charging for aircraft emissions since January 1, 2012. Environmental Law Carbon EmissionsIf an airline refuses to pay up, the airline will be fined 100 Euros for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Those companies still refusing to pay the fees or fines may find their wings clipped in Europe. 

In response, a "Rebel Alliance" of unlikely players has formed: Brazil, South Africa, India and China call themselves the BASIC bloc, though the United States and Russia are also involved. Saudi Arabia may even host the next rebellion planning meeting. 

Russia, which like the other countries just mentioned, opposed the EU’s greenhouse gas fees, is threatening in retaliation to reinstate over-flight fees for planes cruising over Siberia, which Russia gave up for World Trade Organization membership. The United States' State Department is also against the greenhouse gas fees, though there's no talk of retaliation or counter charges of any kind as of yet. 

China refuses to allow their air carriers to pay. Companies who feel they must will need special permissions from the Chinese government. 

A joint statement from environmental ministers of the BASIC countries said, 

"Ministers noted that the unilateral action by EU in the name of climate change was taken despite strong international opposition and would seriously jeopardize the international efforts to combat climate change." 

The EU's response is that it wouldn't be charging these fees if there were a global response to solving the greenhouse gas problem. It may take the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to step in and suggest a resolution. But the EU says talks through ICAO haven't worked for the past 10 years, that's why they enacted the aviation emissions law in the first place. 

Moreover, history teaches that countries act only in their own interest and that the United Nations is an impotent organization unless the major powers want it to act.  No wonder talks through the ICAO haven’t worked. 

On the other hand, the EU’s carbon fees may be worse than not acting.  If one government (here, the EU) essentially places a tariff on doing business in that government’s jurisdiction, retaliation is sure to follow (example:  Russia, as discussed above). 

Whatever happens, the carbon emissions war is sure to do one thing: raise airfares for everyone. 

Stephen T. Holzer is a Business Litigation Attorney and the Chair of our Environmental Law Practice Group. Contact him by calling 818.990.2120.

 

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Thursday
Feb162012

Intellectual Property Law - The Madrid Protocol Promotes Global Trademark Protections

 

Franchise Agreement LawyerState Bar Certified Specialist, Franchise & Distribution Lawby Tal Grinblat
818.907.3284

 

American based companies wanting to protect their trademarks internationally have been able to do so fairly easily since 2003, when the United States adopted the Madrid Protocol.

The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty currently recognized by 84 countries. It allows a U.S. based business that has a pending trademark application or registration in the U.S. Trademark Office apply to register the identical mark in other member countries of the Protocol, using a fairly simplified procedure.

The benefits of using the Protocol are fairly extensive. Instead of applying to register a mark separately in various countries, the applicant can file one application with the US Trademark Office which then automatically gets sent to the countries designated.

You no longer need to hire local trademark counsel in individual territories (unless objections are raised to the application at any stage). You also pay for the applications in US currency, thereby eliminating the need for wire transfers. Once an international registration is issued, there is also a simplified process to renew the trademark and a simplified manner to record address changes and other information, such as a sale of the mark to other parties. In addition, after an international registration issues, it’s possible to request an extension of protection to other member countries without having to start the process again.

Which countries are members of the Madrid Protocol? They range from Albania, Bhutan and China, to Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia – but you can access the complete Madrid Protocol List of Countries here. Application fees vary by country.

 

Your Trademark: Meeting International Requirements

 

Your international application must be based on a U.S. (or local) application or registration, called a "basic application" — you cannot file internationally without it.

  1. The mark and the owner of the international application must be the same as the mark and the owner of the basic application.
  2. The international application must include a list of goods and services identical to or more narrow than the list on the basic application.
  3. The applicant must pay the U.S. certification fees at the time of submission as well as the application filing fees for all countries to which protection is sought.
  4. The applicant must identify at least one Contracting Party for an extension of protection.

If the application meets these requirements, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) located in Geneva, Switzerland, will register your mark, publish it in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks, and send you a certificate as the "holder of the international registration."

The International Bureau will then notify the Contracting Parties you designated in the international application. The designated countries will then review the application (as they would review any other application filed directly with them). And if no impediments or objections are raised, a registration ultimately is issued and forwarded to the applicant.

Due to the pitfalls involved in this multi-step process, trademark owners are encouraged to consult with experienced trademark counsel to provide guidance on, explain the process and assist with filing the international application. And if any objections or impediments are raised during the prosecution, trademark counsel can also direct the applicant to local counsel in the countries involved for assistance.

Tal Grinblat is an Intellectual Property Attorney, and a Certified Specialist in Franchise and Distribution Law, as designated by the State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization. If you have questions regarding intellectual property, trademark protection or franchising a business, call him at 818.990.2120.

 

 

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120