Friday, February 04, 2011

Today in Luxembourg

The big case this week is Football Association Premier League. In this case, AG Kokott nearly doomed the Premier League to perpetual poverty by arguing in favour of a free internal market for satellite decoders and decoder cards. In the case at bar, little Portsmouth pub lady Karen Murphy used a (lawful) Greek decoder card to show Premier League matches in her pub. The AG now argues that this approach is protected under the freedom to provide services, thus dooming the FAPL's lucrative system of third degree price discrimination.

In Ebert, yet another lawyer tried to get out of the rule that you have to join the bar in order to practice law in a given country, and as before he failed. You have to join the bar to practice law, and if you want to practice law in another MS you can rely on the rules for mutual recognition of diplomas, or on the specific rules of Directive 98/5, but EU law won't make it any easier than that.

AG Trstenjak had an opinion in yet another Bud v. Budweiser case. (Cf. this opinion from 2009, this CFI judgement from 2009, this ECJ judgement from last July, and this opinion from September.) As it happens, the AG argues that EU law cannot help here, since Directive 89/104 is not temporarily applicable to the problem at hand. This particular case comes from the UK, where both parties apparently have been quarreling about the trademark since they both entered the market in 1973-74.

In consumer protection law, AG Mengozzi had an opinion in the interesting case of Ving Sverige (DE, FR). The question concerns whether certain advertisements by budget airlines, travel operators, etc. qualify as an invitation to purchase in the sense of Directive 2005/29. If they are, the companies in question might have a problem with such provisions as art. 7(4)(c) of the Directive, given that they are often somewhat - ahum - optimistic about the price at which the product in question can actually be obtained. The AG suggests letting the national court sort most of this out, so we'll have to wait and see what the ECJ says.

Finally, in the General Court there is a bit of fun with EPSO. As far as I know, it is usually unsuccessful applicants who have a problem with the procedures, but in this case the case is brought by Italy. Their grievance was that EPSO's expression of interest for contract agents no. EPSO/CAST/EU/27/07 was published only in the three working languages, and not in the other 20-odd official languages. The General Court agrees that this is in violation of the relevant secondary law. Italy v. Commission (FR)

P.S. The archive of these emails is here.

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