Under our own, good old Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property, Article 11 stipulates as follows:
Inventions, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Marks: Temporary Protection at Certain International ExhibitionsRight: Paris has long been associated with exhibitions of a less formal variety too ...
(1) The countries of the Union shall, in conformity with their domestic legislation, grant temporary protection to patentable inventions, utility models, industrial designs, and trademarks, in respect of goods exhibited at official or officially recognized international exhibitions held in the territory of any of them.
(2) Such temporary protection shall not extend the periods provided by Article 4. If, later, the right of priority is invoked, the authorities of any country may provide that the period shall start from the date of introduction of the goods into the exhibition.
(3) Each country may require, as proof of the identity of the article exhibited and of the date of its introduction, such documentary evidence as it considers necessary.
The treaty dealing with "goods exhibited at official or officially recognized international exhibitions" under our Paris Convention is the other one, the Paris Convention on international exhibitions (confusingly similar? Ask OHIM). Now Latvia wants to accede to the exhibitions treaty. No problem, you might think. However, as the Paris Convention on international exhibitions regulates aspects falling within the European Union customs legislation, any Member State that wants to accede to that Convention requires the blessing of the European Union. This is because Article 16 (of the other Paris Convention) and its Annex on "Customs Regulations for the importation of articles by the participants in international exhibitions" require countries organising exhibitions to allow for temporary admission of objects by the participants in international exhibitions. This activity, however temporary, is regulated in Articles 137 to 144 of the Community Customs Code, Council Regulation 2913/92, which is implemented with regard to exhibitions by Article 576 of the Implementing rules to the Community Customs Code, Commission Regulation 2454/93.
The Council proposal recommends that all European Union Member States and not just Latvia be authorised to accede to the other Paris Convention even though the Union itself is barred from doing so since it's not a sovereign state. Accordingly it proposes a two-Article Decision which reads simply as follows:
This recommendation is unlikely to be the cause of too much diplomatic activity since, of the 27 Member States of the Union, 24 have already acceded to the other Paris.
Member States are hereby authorised to accede, for the parts falling under European
Union competence, to the Paris Convention.
This Decision is addressed to the Member States.