On 3 January 2013 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Google Inc. has agreed to not seek injunctive relief against rivals using its essential patents. The FTC also announced that Google has altered its practices in online search and advertising.
U.S. DOJ and PTO issue policy statement on remedies for standards-essential patents subject to (F)RAND commitmentsMarch 28, 2013
On January 8, 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (DOJ) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a policy statement on remedies for standards-essential patents (SEP) subject to voluntary commitments to license the patents on (fair,) reasonable and non-discriminatory ((F)RAND) terms. They provided their perspectives on “whether injunctive relief in judicial proceedings or exclusion orders in investigations under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 are properly issued when a patent holder seeking such a remedy asserts standards-essential patents that are encumbered by a RAND or FRAND licensing commitment.” They argue that an injunction or exclusion order for a RAND- or FRAND-encumbered SEP may be inconsistent with public policy objectives except where exceptions apply.
CJEU provides guidance on “genuine use” of Community Trade Marks required to avoid revocation for non-useMarch 28, 2013
On 19 December 2012 the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) has issued an important decision providing further guidance on the territorial scope of “genuine use” of a Community Trade Mark (CTM) to enable its proprietor to avoid its revocation or attack for non-use.
CJEU holds that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive’s limitation of costs for broadcasting short news events of high interest to the public is validMarch 28, 2013
On 22 January 2013 the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in the case of Sky Österreich GmbH v Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) (C-283/11). The Court held that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive’s limitation of costs for broadcasting short news events of high interest to the public, such as football matches, is valid.
On 6 March 2013 the European Commission imposed a Euro 561 million fine on Microsoft for not complying with its previous commitments to address competition concerns related to the tying of Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer, to its dominant client PC operating system Windows. The so called “Article 9 decision” mandated Microsoft to offer users a browser choice screen enabling them to easily choose their preferred web browser.
Last 29 January 2013, the Italian Council of State published its ruling that quashed the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio’s judgment of 16 May 2012 in the Bayer Cropscience case. The TAR Lazio annulled the Italian Competition Authority’s decision that fined Bayer Cropscience Srl and Bayer Cropscience AG (together “Bayer”) Euro 5,124 million for abuse of dominant position in the market for the production and commercialization of fosetyl-based fungicides in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (see Newsletter 3/2012 p. 10 and Newsletter 4-5/2011, p. 11 for additional background). As a result the Council of State reinstated the fine imposed on Bayer.
On 27 December 2012 the Paris Commercial Court dismissed claims brought by Navx that Google abused its dominant position on the advertisement market by unilaterally terminating the advertisement contract it had with Navx before its term. The Court ruled that Google did not abuse of its dominant position by terminating an agreement in advance because such activity, if reasonable, forms a company’s right to conduct its business. Nevertheless the Court partially upheld Navx’s claim for damages in order to compensate for losses suffered as a result of the early termination. [Gabriele Accardo]
On 4 March 2013 the French competition authority dismissed (only available in French) a complaint by E-Kanopi alleging that Google abused of its dominant position by seeking to force it out of the market in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article L. 420 – 2 of the French Commercial Code. E-Kanopi runs a search engine and various thematic sites providing information on a range of topics (company’s financial data, phone listings, weather and pensions).
On 19 December 2012 the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNC”) opened an investigation to ascertain whether Pfizer allegedly prolonged the patent protection for its active ingredient latanaprost which thereby constitutes an abuse of its dominant position in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.