Case C-395/16, DOCERAM – they DoCeram-ics but technical functionality dictates their design

One way for a company to stop a rival from selling a similar product is to protect in intellectual property law, the design(s) behind the product. EU law has a special regime for so-called registered Community designs. However, the regime will not protect designs which are ‘solely dictated’ by function. The problem in this case is determining what that phrase in the EU’s designs Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 actually means, in circumstances where the product is merely being used to hold two objects in place during a welding process. More

Case C-470/16, North East Pylon Pressure Campaign – piling on the environmental information pressure

If there is an EU-authorised construction project that requires an ‘environmental impact statement’ for the purposes of the EU’s Directive 97/11/EC, but the environmental information which underpins that statement is then suddenly changed; then when can people go to their local judge and ask him to review this matter of EU environmental law? Must they wait for a planning body to issue a final decision before they can go to a judge? And what should be done in Ireland? People there have already gone to their local judge before the final decision and have asked for an injunction to stop a planning enquiry. The State owned energy company says that this is a frivolous legal action because of course the Irish court must wait for the Irish body to make a determination; consequently, the company wants its litigation costs paid for by the claimant. And while Irish law does allow costs to be awarded in the event of a claim being frivolous, is that Irish exception (and others in Irish costs law) compatible with the principle in the EU Directive and Aarhus Convention that each side bears its own costs? And what should an Irish judge do when another part of the Irish legislation seems to reflect another Aarhus Convention obligation but it is even narrower in scope than the Convention? More

Case C-358/16, UBS – stopping a lawyer accessing innocence-establishing documents

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is home to a lucrative trade in investment banking and investment companies. Policing that market is Luxembourg’s financial regulator, the CSSF. It has stopped a lawyer from working as a company director. He is challenging the correctness of the regulator’s decision. As part of preparing his legal action, he wants to see certain documents held by the regulator. However, the regulator is refusing to disclose any documents. Furthermore, the regulator’s position is reinforced by a bank that has already been censured by the regulator in precisely the same matter. Therefore, the legal issue in this case is the degree to which the alleged confidentiality of the documents prevails over the individual lawyer’s EU Charter rights. More

Case C-434/16, Nowak – seeking to access his exam script because it is personal data

Is a candidate’s exam script ‘personal data’ about him? If so, then does he have the right to access a copy of his script under the EU’s ‘data processing’ Directive 95/46/EC? More

Case C-341/16, Hanssen Beleggingen – exclusive court jurisdiction in trade mark validity proceedings

When a trade mark register indicates the formal owner of a mark but another person then claims to be the owner, where can that person litigate to challenge the registration? Is it only in the courts where the formal owner is domiciled? Or is it in the courts of the Member State that hosts the registry? More