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-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

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-289/16, Kamin und Grill Shop – an internet mail-order ‘direct sale’ barbecues consumer protection

Specialising in all-things-barbecue, the ‘Kamin und Grill Shop’ even sells a range of organic spice mixes. However, these have not been subject to a regulated ‘control system’ as required by the EU’s ‘organic produce’ Regulation 834/2007. Kamin und Grill deny infringing the Regulation because their business is done through their website, and the Regulation has an exception for ‘direct sales’. The unsavoury dilemma for the CJEU’s judges is this: if the aims of the Regulation are guaranteeing fair competition, ensuring consumer confidence and protecting consumer interests, then why is it legally right for an internet mail-order company to escape the wrath of the Regulation? More