IPPT20110712, CJEU, L'Oreal v Ebay

Print this page 20-07-2011
IPPT20110712, CJEU, L'Oreal v Ebay

TRADEMARK LAW

 

In the course of trade - private activity
• when an individual sells a product bearing a trade mark through an online marketplace and the transaction does not take place in the context of a commercial activity, the proprietor of the trade mark cannot rely on his exclusive right as expressed in Article 5 of Directive 89/104 and Article 9 of Regulation No 40/94. If, however, owing to their volume, their frequency or other characteristics, the sales made on such a marketplace go beyond the realms of a private activity, the seller will be acting ‘in the course of trade’ within the meaning of those provisions.

 

Territorial scope
• Infringement if offer for sale or promotion of non-EU goods is for consumers within the Union

 

Sample products: not put on the market
• the answer to the first question is that where the proprietor of a trade mark supplies to its authorised distributors items bearing that mark, intended for demonstration to consumers in authorised retail outlets, and bottles bearing the mark from which small quantities can be taken for supply to consumers as free samples, those goods, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, are not put on the market within the meaning of Directive 89/104 and Regulation No 40/94.

 

Removal of packaging: infringement if essential information is missing or the reputation of the trade mark is damaged.
• In view of the foregoing, the answer to the second to fourth questions is that Article 5 of Directive 89/104 and Article 9 of Regulation No 40/94 must be interpreted as meaning that the proprietor of a trade mark may, by virtue of the exclusive right conferred by the mark, oppose the resale of goods such as those at issue in the main proceedings, on the ground that the person reselling the goods has removed their packaging, where the consequence of that removal is that essential information, such as information relating to the identity of the manufacturer or the person responsible for marketing the cosmetic product, is missing.
• Where the removal of the packaging has not resulted in the absence of that information, the trade mark proprietor may nevertheless oppose the resale of an unboxed perfume or cosmetic product bearing his trade mark, if he establishes that the removal of the packaging has damaged the image of the product and, hence, the reputation of the trade mark.

 

Infringing use of a trademark in keyword advertising
• Use of a trademark in keyword advertising is an infringement when the advertising is unclear or whether the goods concerned originate from the proprietor of the trade mark or from an undertaking economically linked to that proprietor or, on the contrary, originate from a third party.

 

No use of trademark by operator of an online marketplace
• that the operator of an online marketplace does not ‘use’ – for the purposes of Article 5 of Directive 89/104 or Article 9 of Regulation No 40/94 – signs identical with or similar to trade marks which appear in offers for sale displayed on its site.

 

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

 

No liability of operator of online marketplace when there is no active role and a "notice and take-down" policy.
• that Article 14(1) of Directive 2000/31 must be interpreted as applying to the operator of an online marketplace where that operator has not played an active role allowing it to have knowledge or control of the data stored. The operator plays such a role when it provides assistance which entails, in particular, optimizing the presentation of the offers for sale in question or promoting them.
• Where the operator of the online marketplace has not played an active role within the meaning of the preceding paragraph and the service provided falls, as a consequence, within the scope of Article 14(1) of Directive 2000/31, the operator none the less cannot, in a case which may result in an order to pay damages, rely on the exemption from liability provided for in that provision if it was aware of facts or circumstances on the basis of which a diligent economic operator should have realised that the offers for sale in question were unlawful and, in the event of it being so aware, failed to act expeditiously in accordance with Article 14(1)(b) of Directive 2000/31.

 

LITIGATION – ENFORCEMENT

 

Court order against operator of an online marketplace regarding future infringements possible
• that the third sentence of Article 11 of Directive 2004/48 must be interpreted as requiring the Member States to ensure that the national courts with jurisdiction in relation to the protection of intellectual property rights are able to order the operator of an online marketplace to take measures which contribute, not only to bringing to an end infringements of those rights by users of that marketplace, but also to preventing further infringements of that kind.
• Those injunctions must be effective, proportionate, dissuasive and must not create barriers to legitimate trade.


IPPT20110712, CJEU, L’Oréal v Ebay