Online infringement and court competence

AMS Neve manufactures and sells audio equipment in the United Kingdom. The trademark 1073 is registered in the European Union for recording equipment in class 9. AMS Neve files a lawsuit in England against Heritage Audio from Spain, for selling counterfeit equipment under the mark 1073. As proof, twitter messages and e-mails directed at English consumers are submitted.

Heritage Studio states that the claim should be rejected. Heritage Studio is based in Spain and the company does not advertise in England. Standard rule for (online) infringement cases is to start proceedings in the country where the company is located, advertises or offers items for sale and where the follow-up actions take place. In addition, the court is competent in the country where the infringement takes place.

The European Court has now ruled that the place where the infringement takes place also includes the country in which the target audience lives, on which the advertisement is focused, even if the infringing advertisement is sent from another country. So this is good news for holders of an EU trademark, because based on this ruling, proceedings can be diverted to a court in any other EU country.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?