Football Dataco: CJEU confirms ‘intended target of information’ criterion as jurisdictional trigger in an internet context

[postscript 5 February 2014: L’Oreal and e-bay settled their dispute (referred to below) out off court in January 2014. Settlement is undisclosed.]

Mere accessibility of data does not suffice to grant jurisdiction under the Database Directive. In Football Dataco, the  CJEU has confirmed the ‘intended target of information’ criterion as a jurisdictional trigger in an internet context.

The Football Dataco judgment has its most immediate impact in the Intellectual property area, however the judgment has generally confirmed the ‘intended target’ criterion as a trigger for jurisdiction in an internet context.

In the trademark sector, the L’Oréal /Ebay litigation led to the CJEU instructing that where goods located in a third State, which bear a trade mark registered in an EU Member State or a Community trade mark and have not previously been put on the market in the EEA or, in the case of a Community trade mark, in the EU, (i) are sold by an economic operator on an online marketplace without the consent of the trade mark proprietor to a consumer located in the territory covered by the trade mark or (ii) are offered for sale or advertised on such a marketplace targeted at consumers located in that territory, the trade mark proprietor may prevent that sale, offer for sale or advertising by virtue of the rules set out in relevant EU legislation. It is the task of the national courts to assess on a case-by-case basis whether relevant factors exist, on the basis of which it may be concluded that an offer for sale or an advertisement displayed on an online marketplace accessible from the territory covered by the trade mark is ‘targeted at’ consumers in that territory: When the offer for sale is accompanied by details of the geographic areas to which the seller is willing to dispatch the product, that type of detail is of particular importance in the said assessment:

The CJEU itself noted in para 64 of its L’Oréal judgment the analogy with the Pammer and Alpenhof litigation [the main judgment for the application of the Jurisdiction Regulation in an internet context].

‘Intended target of information’ as a criterion of applicability was now also confirmed as the criterion for application of the Database Directive, Directive 96/9 in Case C-173/11 Football Dataco (judgment of 18 October 2012): ‘Article 7 of Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases must be interpreted as meaning that the sending by one person, by means of a web server located in Member State A, of data previously uploaded by that person from a database protected by the sui generis right under that directive to the computer of another person located in Member State B, at that person’s request, for the purpose of storage in that computer’s memory and display on its screen, constitutes an act of ‘re-utilisation’ of the data by the person sending it. That act takes place, at least, in Member State B, where there is evidence from which it may be concluded that the act discloses an intention on the part of the person performing the act to target members of the public in Member State B, which is for the national court to assess.’

In other words, mere accessibility of data does not suffice to grant jurisdiction under the Database Directive.

Geert.

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