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MARQUES Conference Day 2 report

At the end of the second full day of the annual MARQUES conference in Copenhagen, here are five more snippets

Where did the oppositions go?

A fact-filled presentation from OHIM's Dimitris Botis this morning provided all the data you could need on CTMs and RCDs. Most striking was the revelation that after years of significant growth it looks like filing numbers are stabilising. CTM applications are expected to grow by just 2% this year, while RCD applications are projected to fall by 1%.

Even more notable, the number of opposition cases brought is set to fall by about 18% during 2014. It's too early to say if this is a trend, or what is causing it. Possible explanations include budget cuts, frustration with inconsistent decisions, greater efforts at settlement and brand owners picking their battles more selectively. I'd be interested to know if this data reflects readers' experiences, and if anyone can offer a fuller explanation.

Revolting students

Paul Maier (right) of the EU Observatory was also over from Alicante. Providing an update on the latest work on researching and dealing with counterfeiting in the EU and beyond, he presented some interesting statistics from the recent report European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behaviour.

One statement put to respondents in the survey was: "Buying counterfeit products is an act of protest and a way to resist the market-driven economy and the large premium brands". Remarkably, 48% of students agreed with this. As Paul pointed out, today's students are tomorrow's engineers, scientists, accountants, designers and lawyers.

The Observatory is about to embark on a youth action plan to talk (and listen) to young people and students. It looks like they have a lot of work to do.

Danish design

The foyer of the Tivoli Hotel has been furnished with iconic (and expensive) pastel-coloured chairs and sofas for the duration of the conference, in a sort of exhibition of Danish design.

It seems nicely appropriate for a conference about brands, though with the Gala Dinner taking place tonight, you have to hope no one gets over excited and spills their red wine.

China calling

China came to Denmark in today's final plenary session, along with Chinese dress, green tea and fans (not really necessary in Copenhagen in September).

Loke Khoon Tan of Baker & McKenzie Hong Kong provided the local advice for brand owners who face counterfeits on e-commerce and social media sites in the country.

Sadly, he couldn't offer much positive news. "As a plaintiff you have to do everything," he noted, adding that most Chinese pirates ignore warning letters and it can be almost impossible to trace and bring action against local websites. The best option is to try to find the physical address of the infringer and amass as much evidence as possible.

Tan used the analogy of climbing the Great Wall of China: it's hard work but "when you get to the top the view is amazing!"

Happy to be here

A number of this week's speakers have noted that Danes are the world's happiest people, according to the UN World Happiness Report. This is in spite of the fact that VAT is 25% and rain is often looming.

Various reasons have been suggested for this ranking, but conference chair Tove Graulund surely clinched it when she revealed that the nation has a unique happiness gene, not found in people from other countries. In other words: if you want your kids to grow up happy, mate with a Dane!

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