The importance of Industrial Property around the world has increased in such scale that a lot of different commercial aspects of the way we do business today are affected by it. This fact, together with the globalization of both the monetary exchanges and telecommunications, presents a rise in the number of international and, more precisely, inter-company transactions as a consequence.
Nevertheless, despite globalization, the international Law has not yet been standardized, which puts us in an awkward position when it comes to the results in the resolution of controversies of the above mentioned inter-company relations.
Everyday, the annual rate of international trades increases, showing a series of problems for both the parties involved in the original contract interested in solving a controversy derived from it as well as the international courts, based on the time and money invested in their solution.
This places us in a situation where we need to have different options of ending a contractual dispute without wasting valuable time, money and, most importantly, the business relationship, since big trades are often terminated due to relatively small problems. Now, the problem is not the lack of alternative methods, but the lack of information each company may have of them.
Therefore, it is important that the Intellectual Property legal advisors, reach their clients and aid them in the gathering of information regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) systems, for the inclusion of several Clauses tending to solve the arising problems via this non-legal court methods, that will result in savings in the field of the aforementioned issues.
We need to clarify that an ADR system does not prevent clients from resolving their problems at court when necessary (i.e. when one of the parties is not willing to negotiate, or wants to obtain a public precedent), but provides them with a faster and cheaper second option.
Another group of reasons for choosing ADR, would be the saturation of the international courts and the similarities in protection and application of arbitration, mediation and other ADR options resolutions before the courts ruling.
Since companies need and search protection outside their own territorial borders, based on the every-day use of multinational treaties such as the Madrid systems and the Patent Cooperation Treaty, it is necessary to assure them that the benefits obtained in the procedure through a court ruling, are also enjoyed via ADR options. In fact, they gain in other aspects that are not provided for in the normal procedure as explained below.
As legal counselors we must explain to our clients that the confidentiality of the information used to obtain a resolution via any ADR methods is maintained and even increased, due to the fact that the parties can agree in the contract that both the procedures and their results will be strictly confidential. We also must make it clear to them that the awards, as the case is in court resolutions, are enforceable and that, in most of the cases, they will have the benefit of not having the possibility of being contested through one or more rounds of litigation.
Finally, if our clients are aware that the ADR provides some advantages that the normal court procedure does not, like the Party Autonomy of being able to control a lot more of the procedure that will resolve their dispute and the Neutrality of law and language, they will be more interested and willing in such procedures which, down the road, will save them money and time, and will provide them a prosperous commercial relationship, which are a few of the aspects that as legal representatives we must care for..
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.