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Dr Ulrich Wittmann
Patent, Trademark & Design Attorney
Fleuchaus & Gallo Part mbH, Germany
Dr Ernst-Ulrich Wittmann is a patent, European trademark and design attorney with Fleuchaus & Gallo in Germany. He is active in the drafting and prosecution of German and European patent applications in the field of mechanical, process and chemical engineering as well as bio-technology and computer sciences with a special focus on the paper industry. In addition to his extensive legal qualifications and experience, he has researched the science behind recycled fibre-related processes to PhD level.
Italy is a key player in the tissue paper industry, second after China and number one in Europe, before Germany, in 2016, with a massive surplus in its balance trade of 474 million dollars, according to data from Assocarta. Owing to the strong European integration of both the Italian and German paper industries, and also because the United Kingdom is among the largest buyers, Brexit is causing agitation in the other countries of the EU.
Brexit will have a considerable impact not only on sales strategies and trade relations, but also on European industrial property rights. In particular, Community trademarks and Community design are protected by a single application throughout the territory of the EU. More than 6,000 Community trademarks related to tissue paper have been deposited in 2018 from countries of the EUIPO’s jurisdiction, and more than 1,600 Community designs in the last 5 years, more than half of which in Italy. For example, the 3D surface sculptures on edge-embossed multi-ply tissue products, particularly relevant to the tissue paper industry, might no longer be covered in the territory of the United Kingdom when its withdrawal from the EU is formalized.
We discuss viable paths to effective protections of such intellectual property rights.