Facebook:worldwide removal of offensive content

In recent years, large social media platforms such as Facebook seem to be increasingly bound by rules. But to what extent can these large internationally powerful platforms be curbed? Eva Glaswischnig-Piesczek is an Austrian MP from the Green party. An article is posted on Facebook about minimum income support for asylum seekers, it is accompanied by her photo. Beneath the photo, the poster places several insulting comments using terms like: “traitor”, “corrupt bitch” and “fascist”.

As these unsubstantiated allegations are insulting and painful, Eva requests Facebook to remove them. Initially in vain. After a court order, Facebook removes this article so that it is no longer visible in Austria. Ultimately, the matter ends up at the EU Court.

Because messages on social media spread lightning fast and well beyond national borders, the Court decides that Facebook should not only take down this message, but also messages that have similar content. The court decision should however describe very accurately what is to be removed.

This is quite a vague concept. It is expected that Facebook will appeal this decision and that the Court will have to specify this further. The worldwide ban is also justified, because otherwise the same contact can be posted again by someone else from another location.

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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?