ORDER OF THE GENERAL COURT (Sixth Chamber)

20 July 2016  (*)

(EU trade mark — Article 177(5) and (7) of the Rules of Procedure — Failure to lodge the authority to act given to the lawyer — Manifest inadmissibility)

In Case T‑19/16,

Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc., established in Wilmington, Delaware (United States),

applicant,

v

European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO),

defendant,

ACTION brought against the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal of EUIPO of 5 November 2015 (Case R 1501/2015-4) concerning an application for registration of the word sign THE MOST ADVANCED NAME IN WATER MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS as a European Union trade mark,

THE GENERAL COURT (Sixth Chamber),

composed of S. Frimodt Nielsen, President, F. Dehousse and A.M. Collins (Rapporteur), Judges,

Registrar: E. Coulon,

having regard to the application lodged at the Court Registry on 18 January 2016,

makes the following

Order

 Facts, procedure and form of order sought by the applicant

1        By application lodged at the Registry of the General Court on 18 January 2016, the applicant, Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc., brought an action against the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) of 5 November 2015 (Case R 1501/2015-4), concerning an application for registration of the word sign THE MOST ADVANCED NAME IN WATER MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS as a European Union trade mark.

2        Noting that the application was incomplete in several respects, with regard to both the formal documents and the rules governing content and form, the Court Registry, by fax of 2 February 2016, sent the applicant a first request for it to put the application in order, inviting it to lodge, in particular, an authority to act given by it to its lawyer, and set 18 February 2016 as the time limit for the application to be put in order.

3        On 18 February 2016, the applicant responded in part to the request to put the application in order, without, however, providing the required authority to act.

4        By fax of 8 March 2016, the Court Registry sent a second request to the applicant for it to put the application in order, inviting it a second time to lodge, in particular, the abovementioned authority to act, and set 31 March 2016 as the time limit for the application to be put in order.

5        On 11 April 2016, the applicant responded in part to the request to put the application in order, without providing that authority to act.

6        By fax of 13 April 2016, the Court Registry sent to the applicant a third request to put the application in order, inviting it once more to lodge, in particular, the authority to act, and set 29 April 2016 as the time limit for the application to be put in order.

7        On 10 May 2016, the applicant responded in part to the request to put the application in order, without, however, providing the authority to act.

8        By fax of 30 May 2016, the Court Registry sent to the applicant a fourth request that it put the application in order, concerning, in particular, production of the authority to act, and set 10 June 2016 as the time limit for this to be done. The Court Registry also drew the applicant’s attention to the consequences that could, by virtue of Article 177(7) of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court, arise from failure to put the application in order within the time limit prescribed.

9        To date, the applicant has not provided an authority to act given to its lawyer.

 Law

10      Under Article 126 of the Rules of Procedure, where an action is manifestly inadmissible, the General Court may, on a proposal from the Judge-Rapporteur, at any time decide to give a decision by reasoned order without taking further steps in the proceedings.

11      According to Article 177(5) of the Rules of Procedure, the application must be accompanied by the documents referred to in Article 51(2) and (3) of those rules, which the lawyer representing or assisting a party must lodge at the Court Registry, namely, on the one hand, a certificate that he is authorised to practise before a court of a Member State or of another State which is a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) and, on the other hand, in the case where the party being represented by the lawyer is a legal person governed by private law, an authority to act given by that person.

12      Under Article 177(7) of the Rules of Procedure, if an application does not comply with paragraphs (2) to (5), the Registrar is required to prescribe a reasonable time limit within which the applicant must lodge the documents referred to therein. If the applicant fails to put the application in order within the time limit prescribed, the General Court must decide whether the non-compliance with those conditions renders the application formally inadmissible.

13      In the present case, it must be held that the application does not comply with the requirements of Article 51(3) of the Rules of Procedure, as no authority to act given by the applicant to its lawyer has been lodged, despite the four requests sent by the Court Registry for the application to be put in order in that regard.

14      In those circumstances, it must be held that it is not possible for the General Court to satisfy itself that the applicant’s representative has in fact been authorised by the applicant to bring the action.

15      Consequently, the present action must be dismissed as being manifestly inadmissible, without it being necessary to notify it to EUIPO.

On those grounds,

THE GENERAL COURT (Sixth Chamber)

hereby orders:

1.      The action is dismissed.

2.      Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc., shall bear its own costs.

Luxembourg, 20 July 2016.

E. Coulon

      S. Frimodt Nielsen

Registrar

      President