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Multiple defendants and territorial intellectual property rights: Painer revisits Roche through Freeport

Our colleague Dr. Mireille van Eechoud, currently of double affiliation as an Associate Professor at the Institute for Information Law, Universiteit van Amsterdam and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, was kind to share with us her views on the Painer case (Case C-145/10) and its relation to the preceding EU Court of Justice case law on the matter. Here is her full opinion:

Could the CJEU’s new stance on art. 6(1) Brussels Regulation 44/2001 be explained by the fact that the Court is very activist of late in shaping areas of copyright law which were not considered harmonized – of which the Painer case is itself an example? Or has the Court taken to heart the criticism unleashed by its Roche judgment on multiple defendants jurisdiction? The Advocate General certainly seemed to, citing among others the position of the European Max Planck Group on Conflict of Laws in Intellectual Property (CLIP). Whatever the reason, the Painer judgment from 1 December 2011 (Case C-145/10) signals a departure from the strict formalist-territorial approach to jurisdiction in intellectual property matters. The Court says that joining defendants under art. 6(1) Brussels Regulation is not precluded ‘solely because actions against several defendants for substantially identical copyright infringements are brought on national legal grounds which vary according to the Member States concerned’.


Another article on Spider-in-the-Web doctrine after Roche ruling

Matthias Rößler’s article “The Court of Jurisdiction for Joint Parties in International Patent Disputes” published in the International Review of Industrial Property and Copyright Law (IIC) Number 4, 2007, pp. 380-400, discusses a recently much debated issue related to the enforcement of international patent disputes against multiple defendants. The abstract of the article states:

    The paper discusses the development – and decline? – of the so-called “Spider-in-the-Web” rulings relating to the simplified filing of lawsuits against several cooperating companies in proceedings for the infringement of respective national patents in Europe. It shows the efforts and arguments that have been used in order to be able to apply Art. 6(1) of Council Regulation No. 44/2001 in cross-border patent disputes, and explains how the much-awaited Roche decision of the European Court of Justice brought clarity to the issue, yet not a globally viable solution.

The article is accessible on-line via the Beck-Online site.


Patent Litigation in the EU – German Case Note on “GAT” and “Roche”

A recently published and very interesting case note by Jens Adolphsen (Gießen) deals critically with the two recent and much discussed ECJ decisions on patent litigation – "GAT" and "Roche" – by arguing both decisions illustrated that effective infringement proceedings in intellectual property matters are not possible on the basis of the Brussels I Regulation.

Adolphsen starts his annotation by an analysis of the ECJ's reasoning in "GAT". Here the ECJ has held that,

[a]rticle 16 (4) of the Convention of 27 September 1968 on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters […] is to be interpreted as meaning that the rule of exclusive jurisdiction laid down therein concerns all proceedings relating to the registration or validity of a patent, irrespective of whether the issue is raised by way of an action or a plea in objection.


Matters Relating to a Contract – The Saga Continues (with AG Szpunar’s Opinion on Case C-265/21, AB et al v Z EF)

With Case C?265/21, the CJEU is bound to add another chapter to the never-ending story of accurately describing the scope of the head of special jurisdiction for contracts in what is today Art. 7(1) Brussels Ia. The Opinion by AG Szpunar, which was published last week, might give readers an indication of what to expect.

The case arises out of an action for a declaration that the claimants are the owners of 20 works of art, which are currently in their possession. While the claimants argue that they have bought the pieces from their (step)mother, who had bought them from their two creators (the parents of the defendant), the defendant, a German domiciliary, claims that her parents had only temporarily stored the works in the gallery of the claimants’ (step)mother in Liège, Belgium. The case was dismissed in the first instance for lack of international jurisdiction as the Belgian court found itself unable to establish a contractual connection linking the claimants to the defendant.


Second Issue of 2021’s Revue Critique de Droit International Privé

The last issue of the Revue Critique de Droit International Privé has been released. It contains eight articles and several case notes.

The editorial (authored by Horatia Muir Watt, Dominique Bureau and Sabine Corneloup) and five of the articles deal with the reserved share (réserve héréditaire) in international successions. These five articles are authored by: Paul Lagarde (« Une ultime (?) bataille de la réserve héréditaire »), Cécile Pérez (« Quelques observations relatives à la réserve héréditaire dans le projet de loi confortant le respect des principes de la République »), Diane Le Grand de Belleroche (« Contre le retour du droit de prélèvement en droit français : une vue de la pratique du droit international »), Suzel Ramaciotti (« Le prélèvement compensatoire du projet d’article 913 du code civil à l’épreuve des exigences européennes et constitutionnelles »), and Nathalie Joubert (« Droit de prélèvement, réserve héréditaire, protection des héritiers contre les discriminations, quelle méthode ? »).


Call for papers: Introducing the “European Family” Study on EU family law. 2020 Annual Conference of the French Association for European Studies (AFEE) 11 and 12 June 2020 Polytechnic University of Hauts-de-France (Valenciennes)

Call for papers
Introducing the “European Family” Study on EU family law
2020 Annual Conference of the French Association for European Studies (AFEE) 11 and 12 June 2020
Polytechnic University of Hauts-de-France (Valenciennes)



The complexity of the post Brexit era for English LLPs and foreign legal professionals in EU Member States: a French perspective

Written by Sophie Hunter, University of London (SOAS)

In light of the turmoil in the UK Parliament since the start of 2019, the only certain thing about Brexit is that everything is uncertain. The Law Society of England and Wales has warned that “if the UK’s relationship with the rest of the EU were to change as the result of significant renegotiations, or the UK choosing to give up its membership, the effects would be felt throughout the legal profession.”  As a result of Brexit, British firms and professionals will no longer be subject to European directives anymore. This foreshadows a great deal of complexity. Since British legal entities occupy a central place within the European legal market, stakes are high for both British and European lawyers. A quick overview of the challenges faced by English LLPs in France and the Paris Bar demonstrates a high level of complexity that, is not and, should be considered more carefully by politicians. (more…)


Out now: Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft

The most recent issue of the Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft (German Journal of Comparative Law; Vol. 117 [2018], No. 4) features the following contributions:


Basel – Ein gebrochenes Versprechen?

Zur Entwicklung der Bankenregulierung in der Europäischen Union und in den Vereinigten Staaten 

Ann-Kathrin Kaufhold*

ZVglRWiss 117 (2018) 415-428

[Basel – a Promise Broken? – Regarding the Development of Banking Regulation in the European Union and the United States]

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision was founded in order to harmonize prudential regulation of banks internationally. Today the Basel standards, in fact, strongly influence national banking regulation both in the European Union and in the United States. Yet, at the same time, European and US regulatory requirements for banks still differ substantially. Against this backdrop the article examines the success and failure of the Basel Committee and asks for the consequences of divergences in international banking regulation.


Monograph on Intellectual Property Rights and Applicable Law, by Javier Maseda Rodríguez

It is my pleasure to give notice of a recently published monograph of my colleague Dr. Javier Maseda Rodríguez (Associate Professor of private international law at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain), entitled

La ley aplicable a la titularidad original de los derechos de propiedad intelectual sobre las obras creadas en el marco de una relación laboral (The law applicable to the initial ownership of intellectual property rights of works created in the context of an employment relationship).


Vitamin C and Comity

Following up on last week’s post on the Second Circuit’s comity decision in the Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation case, Professor Bill Dodge of UC Davis has the following thoughts (also cross-posted on Opinio Juris here)

American law has many doctrines based on international comity—doctrines that help mediate the relationship between the U.S. legal system and those of other nations. The Second Circuit’s decision last week in the Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation case correctly identified an international comity issue. But did it choose the right comity tool to address that issue?

Plaintiffs alleged that defendants, two Chinese companies, participated in a cartel to fix the price of vitamin C exported to the United States in violation of U.S. antitrust law. Defendants did not deny the allegations, but argued that Chinese law required them to coordinate export prices. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce backed the defendants in an amicus brief explaining Chinese law. The district court, however, declined to defer to the Ministry’s interpretation of Chinese law, awarding the plaintiffs $147 million in damages and permanently enjoining the defendants from further violations of U.S. antitrust laws.