Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Week in Luxembourg

This week, the Grand Chamber brings us yet another BUD/Budweiser judgement. Just like the AG, they side with the Americans this time, concluding that the General Court erred in the manner in which it looked at the extent of prior use. (Cf. par. 169 for a summary.) Anheuser-Busch v. Budejovicky Budvar. Some other Bud: this opinion from 2009, this CFI judgement from 2009, this ECJ judgement from last July, and this opinion from last month.

The Grand Chamber also dismissed two appeals in steel cartel cases. I’m not entirely sure why this came before the Grand Chamber, though I suspect it may have something to do with the difficulty of imposing a fine in 2006 that was based at least in part on a Treaty that hasn’t been in force since 2002. (Then again, that issue was only brought up in one of the cases.) ArcelorMittal v. Commission and ThyssenKrupp v. Commission

Greece was ordered to pay a lump sum fine of € 3 million for failure to comply with the Court’s ruling in case C-26/07. Given that Greece finally complied with the judgement on 18 December 2009, there was no need for a penalty payment. Commission v. Greece. By the way, here’s a fun question: What if there’s a dispute about the Commission’s decision to claim such a penalty payment? Or about whether any payment is forfeit at all? Where do you take such a dispute? As it turns out, the General Court has jurisdiction to hear such a case. In Portugal v. Commission, it sided with the MS against the Commission.

For the second time in as many months, the General Court annulled a vacancy notice because it wasn’t published in Italian. In this case, the culprit is the Economic and Social Committee. Italy v. EESC

AG Jääskinen argues that Community trademark law does not allow a MS to take into account the hour and minute of registration in addition to the date of registration when deciding who has the prior claim. GENESIS (NL, DE, FR)

AG Cruz Vilalón has an opinion about online torts under Regulation 44/2001. As so often, the result is a multiplicity of possible fora. Also, the AG argues, art. 3 of the e-commerce Directive 2000/31does not apply to clash of laws issues. In other words, if you have been wronged on the internet, you can sue just about anywhere, and it’s anybody’s guess which country’s laws will be applied to your case. Joined Cases C-509/09 and C161/10, eDate v. X and Martinez v. Société MGN Limited (DE, FR)

AG Mengozzi has two opinions on supplementary protection certificates for medicinal products. I beg the reader’s forgiveness if I leave the analysis of his argument as an exercise for the reader. Synthon v. Merz Pharma and Generics (UK) v. Synaptech

AG Bot explained that under Directive 91/439 a Member State is allowed to refuse to recognize a driving license issued to someone who was not resident in the issuing state at the time when the license was issued. (In this case, Ms. Grasser lived in Germany and got her license in the Czech Republic.) Grasser v. Freistaat Bayern

AG Bot also went over a whole list of characteristics of the Austrian regulatory scheme for gambling, finding some of them defective but not others. Dickinger and Ömer (DE, FR)

Also in gambling: last week, the Dutch Council of State ruled in Betfair v. Minister of Justice (NL). The question was whether Betfair should have been given a license, and whether it needed a license in the first place. Given the ECJ’s answer to the prejudicial questions asked in this case, it was clear that Betfair did need a license. Applying the ECJ’s equal treatment and transparency guidance, the Council now concluded that Betfair should have been given the opportunity to compete for the (or a) license.

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