Case C-644/16, Synthon – resisting its impounded documents being inspected by a rival

How can you prove your case when the other party has in its possession the evidence you need? Perhaps you will need to instigate a search-and-seize raid on the other party? In this case, a Japanese pharmaceutical firm did just that. It organised Dutch court bailiffs to raid a Dutch firm suspected of making patent-infringing drugs. However, once the materials had been seized, the Japanese firm then asked the Dutch court for access to inspect them. This stumped the Dutch judges. What rules and standards should they apply to determine that request in light of the ‘evidence’ rule in Article 6 of the EU’s ‘enforcement’ Directive 2004/48? More

Case C-397/16, Acacia – the replica wheel deal

Acacia makes replica car wheels that fit Audis, BMWs, or Porsches. However, Acacia has been sued in several EU Member States and the defences it has raised are now the subject of three different preliminary references; two are from the Italian courts, and one is from the German Supreme Court. The central legal questions are whether Acacia’s replica wheels infringe EU-protected ‘design’ rights, and which court is competent to hear such a dispute? More

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-163/16, Louboutin – shoe soles, signs solely comprising a shape, and judicial cobblers

If a red shaped-sole gives substantial value to a shoe, then is a trade mark registration invalid because EU trade mark legislation prohibits the registration of signs where shape gives substantial value to the goods? More

Case C-169/15, Montis Design – EU copyright and Benelux design formalities, a game of musical chairs?

When a company owns the Benelux rights in the design of a chair but then it fails to maintain the registration of its Benelux rights under Benelux law, can a rival company still be stopped from making similar chairs because of the links between the old Benelux law and current EU law? More specifically, what is the relationship between Benelux rights and the EU’s ‘term of protection’ Directive 93/98/EEC? More