Case C-631/16, Timberland Europe – puts its boot into retroactive anti-dumping Regs

Your footwear may have started out life in China or Vietnam. Consequently, companies may have paid EU anti-dumping duties on them. Unsurprisingly, international capital wants to put the boot into this EU law. Surprisingly though, there may be some legal justification for this – the EU Commission appears to ignore EU law. Early last year, the CJEU held aspects of the EU’s anti-dumping footwear Regulations to be illegal and invalid. The Commission then announced a plan for new laws. But the plan’s legality was promptly queried in a German court and a preliminary reference quickly made (C-256/16, Deichmann). Undeterred, the Commission promulgated its new Regulations. Now Dutch judges are anticipating the illegality of those very Regulations and are asking the CJEU how to calculate the compensation (C-631/16, Timberland Europe). A great deal of money is at stake because even luxury branded leather boots, shoes and trainers may either have been made in China or be the fruit of Chinese-outsourced work and parts coming from Vietnam. 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-528/16, Confédération paysanne – against new herbicide-resistant plants

American fields are being planted with seeds that have benefited from new techniques of genetic engineering like gene editing. These new seeds have been modified to produce plants that will even survive being sprayed with lethal herbicides. However, French environmental groups anticipate that these new seeds will be soon imported into the EU. They fear that the EU rules on genetically modified organisms in Directive 2001/18/EC are just not able to regulate these new seeds properly. The French courts simply wonder if the EU rules contravene the EU’s ‘precautionary principle’ enshrined in Article 191(2) TFEU. More

Case C-426/16, Liga van Moskeeën – ritual killing

Belgian Muslims ritually kill sheep and lambs for the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice. Ritual suggests that these animals be slaughtered without anaesthetic or first being stunned. This contradicts general Belgian and EU animal welfare law. However, Belgian law has an exception for a ritual killing. A ritual killing will be allowed if it happens in State-recognised slaughterhouses. The problem is that in Flanders these cannot cope with the demand. Consequently, temporary slaughterhouses are being used, and extra costs are being incurred by Flemish Muslims and mosques. Therefore, the legal question is whether this situation is compatible with legal obligations to protect freedom of religion. More