French Supreme Court Rules in Pinckney


On 22 January 2014, the French supreme court for civil and criminal matters (Cour de cassation) delivered its decision after the Pinckney ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The claim before French courts was one of copyright infringement against an Austrian company for manufacturing CDs which were later sold on the internet by an English company.

The French supreme court held that the accessibility of the website of the English company in France suffices to found the jurisdiction of French courts over the Austrian company as the alleged loss was suffered in France:

l’accessibilité, dans le ressort de la juridiction saisie, d’un site Internet commercialisant le CD argué de contrefaçon est de nature à justifier la compétence de cette juridiction, prise comme celle du lieu de la matérialisation du dommage allégué.

For years, the Court had ruled that mere accessibility of a website in France was not enough to grant jurisdiction to French courts, and that directed activity had to be demonstrated. Time will tell whether the Court will also give up the directed activity test under the French common law of international jurisdiction.