Case C-681/16, Pfizer Ireland – Specific Mechanism suppresses drug circulation

The internal market in pharmaceuticals can be partitioned by EU law. For example, the EU’s ‘Specific Mechanism’ will sometimes allow patent holders to stop the import of drugs into the ‘old’ Member States from the ‘new’ Member States, where prices are markedly lower. In this case, the drug company patent holder Pfizer wants to stop cheap imports of a psoriasis and arthritis drug from entering into Germany – and to that end, it has invoked the Specific Mechanism. In contrast, the importer contends that the Specific Mechanism does not apply; consequently, the EU principle of the free movement of goods should be allowed to operate. More

Case C-683/16, Deutscher Naturschutzring – stop German fishing boats scraping the bottom

Even if Article 3(1)(d) TFEU gives the EU an exclusive competence over the common fisheries policy, then can a Member State still enact laws to stop boats from bottom-trawling by virtue of EU environmental law? More

Case C-231/16, Merck KGaA – a murky issue of jurisdiction

When a company starts to sue a group of companies for infringing its trade mark in one Member State but then sees them infringing its mark in a second Member State, can the company commence proceedings in the second state too? Or is the court in the second Member State stopped from hearing the case by dint of the barring phrase, ‘the same cause of action’, which is in Article 109(1)(a) of the EU’s ‘trade mark’ Regulation 207/2009? More

Case C-569/16, Bauer – an heir’s accrued leave rights post-Bollacke but contra legem

After the CJEU’s labour law Bollacke judgment, if a worker had accrued paid annual leave but had died before taking it, then it looked like the heir to his estate could claim a cash equivalent from the employer. Yet the effect of this new EU labour law right seems to be drained by old German inheritance law. Thus, what is a German labour law judge to do? Applying the EU’s ‘working time’ Directive 2003/88/EC or Article 31(2) of the EU Charter would clearly be contra legem so there is no obligation on the national court to give effect to it. However, if EU labour law prevails, then does it matter that the employer was a public body (Case C-569/16) or a private company (Case C-570/16)? More