More flexibility for EU trade mark owners in choice of jurisdiction

Abstract

Until now, the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Court of Justice) concerning the determination of the competent jurisdiction in proceedings for infringement of a national trade mark has consistently rejected a choice of court based on the linking factor of the target location of the online message that constituted the offer to sell the goods bearing the protected trade mark. The AMS Neve and Others judgment holds that the territory in which the right to an EU trade mark has been infringed is the territory of the Member State in which the addressees either of advertisements posted on the internet or of targeted offers to sell are present, and that the right holder may bring an action for infringement before a court based in the territory of the country of such targeting. This judgment not only constitutes a breakthrough in the case law of the Court of Justice, but also represents an attempt to approximate the rules for determining the jurisdiction applicable to both national and EU trade marks.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Judgment of 5 September 2019, AMS Neve Ltd and Others, EU:C: 2019:674.

  2. 2.

    Case C-523/10 Wintersteiger, EU: C: 2012:220.

  3. 3.

    Case C-360/12 Coty Germany, EU:C:2014:1318.

  4. 4.

    Council Regulation (EC) No 207/2009 of 26 February 2009 on the Community trade mark (codified version) OJ L 78, 24.3.2009, p. 1–42, now Article 125(5) of Regulation (EU) No 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the European Union trade mark, OJ L 154, 16.6.2017, pp. 1–99.

  5. 5.

    Para. 24-27 of judgment C-172/18.

  6. 6.

    Judgment of 9 November 2017, Case R 164/16 Parfummarken, II C 2018, No 4, pp. 485-493.

  7. 7.

    Judgment of 27 September 2017, EU:C;2017:724.

  8. 8.

    Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 concerning the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II), OJ L 199, 31.7.2007, pp. 40–49.

  9. 9.

    Para. 31 of judgment C-172/18.

  10. 10.

    Para. 33 of judgment C-172/18.

  11. 11.

    Para. 39 of judgment C-172/18.

  12. 12.

    Para. 44 of judgment C-172/18.

  13. 13.

    Para. 46 of judgment C-172/18.

  14. 14.

    EU: C: 2011:474.

  15. 15.

    Para. 50 of judgment C-172/18.

  16. 16.

    Para. 51 of judgment C-172/18.

  17. 17.

    Para. 52 of judgment C-172/18.

  18. 18.

    Para. 54 of judgment C-172/18.

  19. 19.

    Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, OJ L 351, 20.12.2012, pp. 1-32. It should be noted that Article 7(2) of Regulation No 1215/2012 replaced Article 5(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters; OJ L 12, 16.1.2001, pp. 1-23. Article 5(3) was the legal basis for the decisions of the Court of Justice referred to in this paper relating to the jurisdiction applicable to national trademarks.

  20. 20.

    Paragraph 59 of judgment C-172/18.

  21. 21.

    Paragraphs 63 and 64 of judgment C-172/18.

  22. 22.

    EU:C:2011:474, para. 64.

  23. 23.

    EU:C:2010:740.

  24. 24.

    See para. 57 of the judgment.

  25. 25.

    Para. 61-63 of the AMS Neve judgment.

  26. 26.

    Para. 111 of judgment of 27 September 2017 C-24/16 I 25/16 Nintendo, EU:C:2017:724.

  27. 27.

    So it appears to L. Lundstedt [2], p. 363.

  28. 28.

    According also to A. Kur when interpreting the notion of the act of infringement [1], p. 457.

  29. 29.

    Para. 65 of judgment C-324/09.

  30. 30.

    Para. 64 C-324/09.

  31. 31.

    Para. 83 of the Pammer and Hotel Alpenhof judgment.

  32. 32.

    Para. 84.

  33. 33.

    Point 90 of the opinion of the Advocate General Szpunar.

  34. 34.

    The Advocate General notes in points 90 and 91:

    • “This could encourage entrepreneurs to restrict sales areas within the Union in order to reduce the risk of being sued in courts of the Member States where the volume of sales is not significant and such a result would be contrary to the objectives of the internal market. [91] On the other hand, due to the difference between the general jurisdiction standards of Regulation No 207/2009 and the jurisdiction standard of Article 97(5) of that Regulation, as further detailed in para. 41 above, the circumstance that the seller is ready to send goods to all Member States may allow for the establishment of court jurisdiction for EU trade marks under Article 97(1) to (4) of Regulation No 207/2009.”

  35. 35.

    See para. 42 of judgment C-172/18, invoking the judgment in Case C-231/16 Merck, EU:C:2017:771.

  36. 36.

    Judgment of 6 February 2014, C-98/13, Martin Blomquist, EU:C:2014:55, paras. 32-34.

  37. 37.

    C-98/13 Martin Blomquist, ECLI:EU:C:2014:55 paras. 32-34.

  38. 38.

    Point 97 of the Advocate General’s opinion in Case C-172/18.

  39. 39.

    Judgment of 12 November 2002 in Case C-206/01 Arsenal Football Club, EU:C:2002:651 para. 40; the aforesaid judgment of 11 September 2007 in Case C-17/06 Céline, EU:C:2007:497 para. 17.

  40. 40.

    Judgment C-17/06 Céline, para. 16; decision of 19 February 2009 in Case C-62/08 UDV North America, EU:C:2009:111, para. 42; judgment of 18 June 2009 in Case C-487/07 L’ Oréal et al., EU:C:2009:378, para. 58); judgment of 23 March 2010, C-236/08 to 238/08 Google, EU:C:2010:159 para. 77.

  41. 41.

    Paragraph 58 of judgment C-172/18.

  42. 42.

    Judgment of 30 November 1976, C-21/76, Handelskwekerij Bier v. Mines de potasse, EU:C:1976:166.

  43. 43.

    C-523/10, Wintersteiger para. 27.

  44. 44.

    Judgments of the Court of 16 July 2009 in Case C-189/08 Zuid-Chemie, EU:C:2009:475 para. 17 and 24, and the case-law cited; and of 25 October 2011 in combined cases C-509/09 and C-161/10 eDate Advertising et al., EU:C:2011:685, para. 38 and 40; judgment of 16 May 2013 in Case C-228/11 Melzer, EU:C:2013:305 para. 22; as well as judgment of 3 October 2013 in Case C-170/12 Pickney, EU:C:2013:635 para. 23.

  45. 45.

    Para. 36 of judgment C-523/10.

  46. 46.

    Para. 31.

  47. 47.

    Para. 34 of judgment C-360/12.

  48. 48.

    Judgment of 25 October 2011, C-509/09, eDate Advertising and C-161/10, Olivier Martinez, paras. 49-50.

  49. 49.

    Para. 51.

  50. 50.

    S. Neumann [3], p. 596; B. Ubertazzi [4], pp. 231-232.

  51. 51.

    Para. 28 of judgment C-523/10, Wintersteiger.

  52. 52.

    Art. 13 point 1b of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, OJ L 157, 30.4.2004, pp. 45–86.

  53. 53.

    Para. 41 of judgment C-170/12 Pickney.

  54. 54.

    C-170/12 Pickney.

  55. 55.

    Para. 41-43 of judgment C-170/12 Pickney.

  56. 56.

    Judgment of 3 April 2014, C-387/12 Hi Hotel, EU:C:2014:215.

  57. 57.

    Para. 37 of judgment C-387/12 Hi Hotel.

References

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  2. 2.

    Lundstedt, L.: AMS Neve and Others (C-172/18): Looking for a Greater “Degree of Consistency” between the Special Jurisdiction Rule for EU Trade Marks and National Trade Marks, GRUR Int 2020, pp. 355–364

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Correspondence to Krystyna Szczepanowska-Kozłowska.

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Szczepanowska-Kozłowska, K. More flexibility for EU trade mark owners in choice of jurisdiction. ERA Forum (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12027-021-00650-0

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Keywords

  • EU trade mark
  • Targeting approach
  • Rule on special jurisdiction