Request for a preliminary ruling from the Riigikohus (Estonia) on Cyberspace Violations of a Legal Person’s Rights

The Estonian Riigikohus has requested, on 7 April 2016, a preliminary ruling from the CJEU on a case concerning violations of a legal person‘s rights committed on the internet: Bolagsupplysningen OÜ, Ingrid Ilsjan v. Svensk Handel AB, Case C-194/16). The Estonian court has asked the following questions:

1. Is Article 7(2) of 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 to be interpreted as meaning that a person who alleges that his rights have been infringed by the publication of incorrect information concerning him on the internet and by the failure to remove comments relating to that information can bring an action for rectification of the incorrect information and removal of the harmful comments before the courts of any Member State in which the information on the internet is or was accessible, in respect of the harm sustained in that Member State?

2. Is Article 7(2) of 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 to be interpreted as meaning that a legal person which alleges that its rights have been infringed by the publication of incorrect information concerning it on the internet and by the failure to remove comments relating to that information can, in respect of the entire harm that it has sustained, bring proceedings for rectification of the information, for an injunction for removal of the comments and for damages for the pecuniary loss caused by publication of the incorrect information on the internet before the courts of the State in which that legal person has its centre of interests?

3. If the second question is answered in the affirmative: is Article 7(2) of 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 to be interpreted as meaning that:

— it is to be assumed that a legal person has its centre of interests in the Member State in which it has its seat, and accordingly that the place where the harmful event occurred is in that Member State, or

— in ascertaining a legal person’s centre of interests, and accordingly the place where the harmful event occurred, regard must be had to all of the circumstances, such as its seat and fixed place of business, the location of its customers and the way and means in which its transactions are concluded?

Many thanks to Dr. Christina Mariottini (HCCH/ILA) and Meeli Kaur for the tip-off!

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