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EU Case Law on Intellectual Property

EU case law on intellectual property encompasses a wide range of rulings issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerning the interpretation and application of EU intellectual property laws. Here are some notable EU cases in the field of intellectual property:


Case C-5/08, Infopaq International A/S v Danske Dagblades Forening (2009): This case addressed the copyright protection of newspaper headlines and extracts. The CJEU ruled that even a very short extract from a protected work could be eligible for copyright protection if it represents the author's intellectual creation.


Case C-34/10, Football Dataco Ltd v Yahoo! UK Ltd and Others (2012): This case dealt with the protection of football fixture lists under copyright law. The CJEU clarified that fixture lists could be eligible for copyright protection if they represent the author's own intellectual creation, reflecting a significant creative effort.


Case C-128/11, UsedSoft GmbH v Oracle International Corp. (2012): This case examined the exhaustion of rights principle in relation to software. The CJEU held that the resale of used software licenses is permissible under certain conditions, considering that the first sale exhausted the rights of the copyright owner.


Case C-145/10, Painer v Standard Verlags GmbH (2013): This case concerned the scope of copyright protection for photographs. The CJEU clarified that a photograph may be eligible for copyright protection if it is an original work expressing the author's personality, even if it is a mere reproduction of a subject.


Case C-170/13, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd v ZTE Corp and ZTE Deutschland GmbH (2015): This case dealt with the issue of standard-essential patents (SEPs) and the obligations of patent holders to license them on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms without infringing competition law. The CJEU provided guidelines on the steps that both SEP holders and potential licensees must follow in negotiations to avoid abusing their dominant market position.


These cases represent a small sample of the many intellectual property cases decided by the CJEU. The court's rulings play a crucial role in harmonising and clarifying intellectual property laws across EU member states and providing guidance on the interpretation and application of EU intellectual property directives and regulations.


You can learn more about each topic and other relevant case law with our exam-focused Intellectual Property notes.

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