Cataluña went a little too far with its supermarket licensing scheme. Apparently, you’re not allowed to be quite so restrictive in order to protect your corner shops against the Wallmarts of this world. Commission v. Spain Cf. bbc.co.ukAG Jääskinen has another Google Adwords case, Interflora. His answers do not appear to be particularly earth-shattering, although this one might be worth pondering: “(3) The fact that the internet search engine operator does not permit trade mark proprietors in the relevant geographical area to block the selection of signs identical to their trade marks as keywords by other parties is as such immaterial in so far as the liability of the advertiser using of the keywords is concerned.” If the operator did allow such blocks, surely that would be relevant?
In the General Court, the most fun today was the case of Dover v. Parliament, where a crooked UK Tory former MEP was ordered to repay £ 345.289 in "unjustified" claims. Then again, it would have been even more fun if the original order of £ 538.000 had been upheld. Cf. bbc.co.uk
Then there was a whole stack of cases regarding the cartel in the market for copper and copper alloy fittings. (Cf. summary of Commission decision C(2006) 4180.) Almost all appeals were rejected, as usual. However, Aalberts was acquitted on the facts, Kaimer had its fine reduced on similar grounds, whereas in the Tomkins and Pegler cases there seem to have been some issues of attributabilty.
Also in the General Court, there was a state aid case regarding the airport of Leipzig/Halle. The case of the Länder of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt was declared inadmissible for lack of an injury in fact. In the parallel case brought by the airport itself, the Commission’s decision was upheld, except to the amount of the aid in question. Mitteldeutsche Flughafen and Flughafen Leipzig-Halle v. Commission (Cf. last year’s Freistaat Sachsen and Land Sachsen-Anhalt v Commission.)
For those who wanted to know: no you can’t register AK-47 as a brand. It doesn’t have sufficient distinctive power. Cybergun v. OHMI part 1 and part 2.
UPDATE: It appears I overlooked a few General Court rulings that were handed down on Tuesday:
In Access Info Europe v. Council, it was discovered that I need not have anonymised the legislative documents I used in my International Negotiations course. There, I did exactly what the Council also did: I left the positions in place but took out the names of the countries. (Unlike the Council, I replaced them with roman numerals.) The General Court now decided that the Council’s interest in protecting the freedom of manoeuvre of its members is insufficient to justify reliance on the internal decision making exception of Regulation 1049/2001. Ironically, the document in question was about the new version of that Regulation. By the way, here are all Council documents on that dossier.
Also in the General Court, the Commission lost a carbon trading case. (If memory serves, not for the first time.) The Court ruled that the Commission’s objections to Latvia’s National Allocation Plan were out of time. The problem wasn’t that the Commission can’t keep track of a 3 month limitation period, but rather that they had different ideas about when that period started. Note also par. 61 of the judgement, which explains why the conclusion is that the Commission’s decision should be annulled, rather than declared non-existent. Latvia v. Commission
Finally, in Altstoff Recycling Austria v. Commission (NL, DE, FR), the General Court decided not to mess with the conditions that the Commission had imposed as part of its approval of the Austrian system for the recycling of various containers. The applicants would have liked to have a negative clearance under art. 81(1) EC instead of an exemption under 81(3) EC, and if it had to be an exemption, then at least one without (these) restrictions, but no such luck.
P.S. The archive of these emails is here.