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-594/16, Buccioni – Dear Central Bank, Documents please. Regards, Mr E. Swindled

It is a mystery why banks fail: banks are regulated by a state’s central bank. In this case, a saver lost a lot of money in the 2012 Italian banking crash. Initial research suggested the central bank might indeed have done something wrong. Consequently, the saver asked it for specific documents so that he could calculate his legal position and assert his rights. His request was refused. The legal question is: was the central bank legally right to refuse his request? If so, the state could swindle the saver out of his money and his legal rights. More

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-557/16, Astellas Pharma – measuring the data exclusivity period on a marketing authorisation

Pharmaceutical drugs need a marketing authorisation before they can be sold in the EU. In 2005, a company obtained one for a particular drug. In 2010, it re-marketed the same drug to treat a slightly different illness and got a fresh marketing authorisation. What then should be done for a rival company who is asking for a marketing authorisation for its cheap generic alternative? Should this be granted because the legal protection associated with the initial authorisation has now elapsed? More

Case C-498/16, Schrems – a Facebook consumer or simply in the business of privacy?

This case concerns a person with a Facebook account. He uses it not only to exchange private photographs and chat with about 250 friends but also for publicity purposes. The legal issue is whether this latter activity stops him from qualifying as a ‘consumer’. The definition matters because if he is a consumer, then he and several thousand other Austrians who are aggrieved at Facebook’s use of their personal data will be able to sue in the Austrian courts. More