Reed Smith Client Alerts

In a recent deliberation arising from an ICSID dispute between two U.S. Bridgestone entities and the Republic of Panama involving trademarks for tires, an arbitral tribunal has for the first time engaged in a full discourse over the question of whether the exploitation of registered trademarks and the exploitation of trademark licences can qualify for investment protection under the applicable treaty.

Bridgestone’s tire dispute in Panama opens door for milestone interpretation of investment treaty protection for trademarks

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has just released a decision on the expedited objections of the respondent state, Panama, in Bridgestone Licensing Services, Inc. and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. v Republic of Panama (ICSID Case No. ARB/16/34). The Tribunal, comprised of Lord Phillips (Chair), Horacio Grigera Naón (the investors’ appointee) and J Christopher Thomas QC (the state’s appointee), considered in which circumstances registered trademarks and, by extension, the licences for such trademarks can be considered as investments qualifying for treaty protection.