Working Areas

DAR FORMA A UNA IDEA PUEDE SER EL ACTIVO MÁS IMPORTANTE DE TU VIDA
DAR FORMA A UNA IDEA PUEDE SER
EL ACTIVO MÁS IMPORTANTE DE TU VIDA

We at SOL MUNTAÑOLA ABOGADOS are specialized in all fields concerning intellectual property. For the past 25 years we have been focusing our activity on the different legal disciplines that concern intangible assets. All in all, these are different aspects of one same specialization, connected areas that are narrowly related to one another and which require a deep understanding and an exclusive focus. Our speciality occupies a key position in the present era, namely the space in our legal system that regulates special property rights over creations and inventions and which also governs how individuals relate to these assets.

Technological innovations, new ways of thinking or, simply, new commercial practices have led traditional fields to be supplemented by other disciplines, such as IT Law, Entertainment Law, Advertising Law or traditional knowledge (TK) Law or legislation covering cultural manifestations; all of these are different ways of approaching new challenges to which our team is used to deal with

Approaching all of these areas includes initial documentation and consultancy on issues related to intellectual property, its effective protection and, should the situation require it, negotiations and the drafting of the necessary agreements for its exploitation and, of course, litigious situations, for which we have a solid litigation department.

The ability to express oneself is an attribute to every human being. When this capacity materializes in an original shape, regardless of what language is used, this gives rise to works that can be literary, musical, photographic, pictorial, computing, audio-visual… Whoever created it is the author, and the law acknowledges his or her right to a particular form of ownership that is limited in time and which features a number of economic and moral considerations.

Have I created a work? Do I have to register it? Do I have any rights?… These questions are common among authors. Also, people who interact with them have similar doubts: Do I have to make my employees sign copyright transfer agreements? If I commission a work, can I use it freely? What are management companies and how do they work?…

The answers lie in a national and international regulatory framework, to which we must add an increasingly large body of jurisprudence. The risks, as usual, are inversely proportional to the level of familiarity with this material.

These may not be creators, strictly speaking, but they nevertheless play an essential role in the cultural market. Artists and performers, the sound and audio-visual producers, broadcasting companies, etc. are awarded special rights (related rights) which, as their name indicates, are related to copyright but should not be confused with it.

They are neither more nor less important; they are simply different and, above all, necessary to allow author’s creations to reach the audiences they were meant for. The parties involved in conveying cultural works are entitled to have their performances, activities and efforts protected.

We live in an age in which design, understood as the aspect of a product that derives from the characteristics of its lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials or ornaments, results in a comparative advantage for designers and/or the companies developing a given property. When properly exploited, this asset should reward the efforts that went into the innovation as well as any investments that have been made.

n order to exploit the results of this special creation, it is indispensable that creators be able to effortlessly oppose those who intend to free-ride on the coattails of the innovations and investments carried out by others the easy way: by copying.  Design, which is halfway between the fields of aesthetics and industry, must ward itself from any possible attacks, and, should they take place, the Law provides reactive instruments to repress them.

To identify and distinguish oneself is an old aspiration. Distinguishing signs fulfil this purpose and many others, as not only do they identify the corporate origin of our goods or services and set them apart from similar or identical goods and services from other providers, they also bring together all the values that a given good or service has to offer. However, this does not only concern trademarks. Brand names, the artistic names, designations of origin, domain names, etc. are signs through which people and objects are made public.

Our law firm provides legal advice for the configuration that any given denomination should adopt, we provide them with the best possible protection by suiting their use to the most appropriate type of sign, we can register them in any country the world over, and we provide counsel on how to use such valuable business assets. Of course, we also provide protection against unwanted attacks.

Patents and utility models constitute legal monopolies granted by States to individuals or companies in return for the disclosure of patented inventions in order to promote technological development in society. They have become an essential strategic tool in developed countries.

Our law firm will help you plan the best strategy to protect and make your R+D+I investments profitable by assessing the patentability of your innovations, carrying out research in the technical sector in question, suggesting the most suitable patenting strategies for your needs (national patent, European patent, PCT, patents in other countries) or offering protection through other formulas (know-how, trade secrets), producing custom-made contracts (non-disclosure agreements, transfers of rights, licences, R+D+I), carrying out patent infringement studies and judicial defence of your immaterial assets.

Plant or animal varieties are nothing new. Ever since humans started to roam this earth and became interested in agriculture and cattle raising they have strived to improve and optimize vegetable and animal varieties through biological processes of crossing and selection of species. Nowadays, with the advent of biotechnology, genetic modification allows us to obtain new species through artificial cloning and genetic modification.

Putting aside the huge ethical and environmental implications that these techniques involve, there is a property regime that benefit those who obtain such varieties and which takes the shape of special legislation, or, simply, patent awards. In any case, this is a complex regulatory framework that involves the European Union, not to mention a wealth of international treaties.

Secret information that has a financial value and which provides a competitive advantage as regards other competitors may constitute a valuable asset that can be protected as a Trade Secret. To this end, it is a good idea to bind all possible agents (employees, collaborators, suppliers, strategic partners) through non-disclosure agreements and other formulas in order to prevent said secret information from being disclosed.

This allows for the protection of manufacturing procedures, assembly techniques, chemical formulas, product compositions and any other types of technical and /or commercial information gained through the experience of your business, also called know-how. Know-how, like any other intangible assets of a given company, can be subject to contractual dealings such as licenses or transfers and, even though it is true that it does not provide an exclusive right, its protection is obtained through its confidentiality, as well as through the unfair competition law and the penal code, which punish the infringement of trade secrets or taking undue advantage of information disclosed under an express or implicit duty of confidentiality.

This right was born as an eminently personal right, bound to the most essential part of the human being, but it has become overwhelmed by its financial potential, becoming an eminently marketable “thing”. Image rights have an undeniable financial dimension that proprietors can transfer and sell as they wish. That is why, from the point of view of intellectual property, it is possible to consider the protection of this right as an artistic expression or an apprehensible projection, without denying that it is still very closely related to the personal sphere.

It is essential to separate the fundamental right from the financial right in order for the legal system to function correctly. Its protection, contracting and defence should be carried out keeping in mind the purpose for which it was exploited in order to ensure a consistent result.

When we speak about information technology rights, we refer to a multidisciplinary matter that has repercussions in many different areas. Of course, it has repercussions in what concerns intellectual property, giving rise to specific situations and problems, but also in what concerns new approaches to old problems that must be handled with a high degree of specialisation. We can help you face all such challenges: the peculiarities of the legal system in what concerns specific creations, such as computer programs or databases, the special difficulties involved by the exploitation of copyright on the internet or the use of domain names as distinctive signs and the conflict with trademarks. These are just a few examples of the many situations in which our firm can provide you with legal advice in order to develop in a new, virtual world that is nevertheless plagued by problems that are no less real.

And all of this without forgetting about some no-less important aspects that emerge from the so-called information society. Such is the case of the uniqueness of e-commerce regulations and online hiring, with the introduction of such new elements as digital signatures. Other noteworthy matters include digital publicity and the protection of information of a personal nature, whose rules and obligations are binding on almost all of us.

Competition between companies benefits consumers as it stimulates companies to improve the quality of their products, improve their services or lower prices. The purpose of competition law is to control practices that restrict competition (agreements between companies that can distort competition, abusive behaviour or concentration of companies).

But even though competition among companies is beneficial, this does not mean that all is fair when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage. The Unfair Competition Law bans those acts that display behaviours that are contrary to the rules of good faith. Imitating services provided by other individuals or corporations, breaching trade secrets or inducing others to breach contracts, among others, are practices that should be repressed.

Over the past few years, the so-called leisure culture has contributed to the growth of industries dedicated to providing cultural products to the public. Throughout this process, from their production to when they are delivered to the public, creations are affected by a number of factors, not all of which are related to copyright law.

Entertainment law concentrates specific aspects of all the legal disciplines that are involved throughout that journey (from copyright to distribution rights, going through working rights, image rights, contracting, etc.), and regulates this often long and complex journey in a cohesive and uniform way.

The need to publicise and promote whatever you would like to sell is nothing new, but the dynamism of the advertisement sector and the new techniques and media used to make adverts reach consumers have given rise to legal regulations and to the coordination of all related aspects. Related fields range from the right to information to competition rights, not to mention copyright and consumer protection laws.

Thus, advertisement law is a legal discipline that covers fields ranging from the protection of advertising creations to their dissemination through traditional media or digital technology as well as its contracting and full counselling on corporate commercial practices and judicial or out-of-court conflict resolution.

Over the course of millions of years there have been manifestations of knowledge that were transferred without the need for property law, or at least for “our” property law.

For those people their creations, their cultural expressions, have a more personal meaning than a commercial one, being expressions that define a community, its social identity, its culture and its values. These people have never financially exploited their creations and, according to their rules, these are not things that should be commercialised, nor have they even considered the possibility of using them so. However, in our Intellectual Property culture, not only are these things eligible to be commercialised, they are also in the public domain due to the fact that they were created in the remote past and are therefore in the public domain and, therefore, within everyone’s grasp.

How should we handle the clash between different cultures? Or rather, how should we handle intrusions by our culture in those more fragile cultures? These are the questions brought up by this way of seeing intellectual property.