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Tuesday, June 24, 2014Jurisprudence

Infringement involving several countries: which judge has jurisdiction?

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

The question was raised with the Coty Germany v. First Note Perfumes case. Coty Germany, which owns a 3D Community trademark for a perfume bottle, filed a claim in Germany against Belgian company First Note for the sale and delivery, in Belgium, of similar bottles to a Germany company that resold them in Germany. Lawyer Cyril Chauvin sheds light on the topic.

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Coty Germany’s legal proceedings were taken only against the Belgian company First Note based on the following:
 1) Community trademark infringement and illicit comparative advertising;
 2) unfair imitation in violation of German unfair competition laws.

The German jurisdictions observed, in both the initial trial and in the appeal, the absence of international jurisdiction in view of the wrongdoing committed in Belgium by the Belgian defendant. As a result, Coty Germany’s infringement lawsuit was rejected.

The German Federal Court did, however, refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the interpretation of Article 97, Section 5 of Regulation 207/2009 on Community trademarks and of Article 5, Section 3 of Regulation 44/2001 on jurisdiction, recognition, and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

Coty Germany’s request relative to the infringement of its 3D Community trademark

Article 97, Section 1 states that ‘subject to the provisions of this Regulation as well as to any provisions of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 applicable by virtue of Article 94, proceedings in respect of the actions and claims (for infringement of a Community trademark) referred to in Article 96 shall be brought in the courts of the Member State in which the …

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