Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Week in Luxembourg

The last set of rulings and opinions before the Court's summer vacation.

- In the biggest ruling of the day, the Grand Chamber of the Court has upheld the Commission's non-contractual liability for its flawed statement of objections in the merger case against Schneider. The ECJ did find in the Commission's favour, however, on one of the aspects of causation: The fact that Schneider ended up taking a big loss on the shares it had acquired for the purposes of the merger is not "caused" by the Commission's tortious behaviour. As a result, the Commission will end up paying a sum significantly smaller than the approx. € 1 bn it was originally liable for. Schneider.

- In the ongoing litigation about Germany's Grüne Punkt, the Grand Chamber found against the Green Point. Just like the Commission and the CFI had decided before, DSD is abusing its market power as a trademark holder by essentially forcing license holders of its Grüne Punkt logo to pay for services they are not enjoying. Der Grüne Punkt/DSD v Commission.

- In the ongoing war between old media ("dead trees") and new media, the ECJ held for the old media today, ruling that an automated process which returned 11 copyrighted words in response to a search (the search word itself + the 5 words before and the 5 words that appear after the search term) required the consent of the copyright holder. Infopaq v Danske Dagblades Forening.

- AG Sharpston opined that under certain circumstances, it can be compatible with Community Law for a footballer to be required to compensate the club or clubs that trained him as a junior. However, this only works if the sum demanded corresponds roughly to the expense incurred by the club and if the sum is to be paid by the player himself. Olympique Lyonnais v Olivier Bernard and Newcastle United. In a different opinion, she also stood up for the free movement rights of snowboard instructors. Commission v France.

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