ECJ on Cross-Border B2C Contracts: Consumers Can Sue At Home Under Contacts Concluded Abroad

The European Court of Justice has clarified an important issue under the Brussels I Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters). In a judgment dated September 6, 2012 (C-190/11 – Mühlleitner), the court held that a consumer can sue a business counter party in the consumer’s home courts, even if the consumer travelled into the jurisdiction of the business counter party to conclude the transaction. In the words of the Court, “Article 15(1)(c) of the Brussels I Regulation must be interpreted as not requiring the contract between the consumer and the trader to be concluded at a distance.”

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Oracle v. Usedsoft – ECJ Landmark Case on Software Licences

Yesterday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ)  rendered a landmark decision in Oracle v. Usedsoft on the sale of used software licenses. Granted, it is a substantive judgment in an IT matter and you might ask why it is covered in this blog – well, it originated in the German courts, and the referring court was the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof).  And I view it as yet another illustration of Germany’s popularity for international IP disputes. The question before the ECJ was whether purchasers could resell, without limitation in time, licensed software even if purchased via download. Yes, said the ECJ. Continue reading

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Vienna Arbitration Days 2012 – “Arbitration in Europe – A Framework in the Making?”

ArbAut, the Austrian Arbitration Association (Österreichische Vereinigung für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit) has posted the presentations given at the Vienna Arbitration Days 2012 on its website.

The conference was held on February 17 and 18, 2012 and looked at the emerging legal framework for arbitration in Europe. The presentations cover procedural aspects as well as the impact of substantive European law on arbitral awards.

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Disappearing Defendant

In a judgment published today, the European Court of Justice held that the fact that it is not possible to identify the current domicile of the defendant must not deprive the applicant of his right to bring proceedings.

Hypoteční banka, a Czech bank wanted to sue Mr Lindner, a German national whom the bank has granted a loan. The bank brought proceedings in Cheb, Czech Republic, at the place of Mr Lindner’s last known domicile, since the current domicile could not be established. The bank argued that in doing so, it brought the proceedings before the “court with general jurisdiction over the defendant.” The guardian ad litem to Mr Lindner appointed by the court  raised objections to the claim. The Okresní soud v Chebu (Cheb District Court) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling: Continue reading

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