Sujetbild Who said there are margins? Overview of recent CJEU Case Law

Who said there are margins? Overview of recent CJEU Case Law

Presentation by Dr. Christian Freudenberg, Schomerus & Partner, held at the 34th Annual Conference of the European Communities Trade Mark Association (ECTA), 12th June 2015

Following a period of some twenty years of experience with the harmonized trademark law in Europe, the European Commission has now focused on the Digital Agenda 2020 and identified the creation and completion of the Digital Single Market as one of its 10 political priorities.

According to the Commission´s strategy paper (COM(2015) 192 final) Europe needs modernized copyright rules and a more harmonized copyright regime which provides incentives to create and invest while allowing transmission and consumption of content across borders, building on Europe´s rich cultural diversity.

Barriers to cross-border access to copyright-protected content services and their portability are still common, particularly for audio-visual programmes. As regards portability, when consumers cross an internal EU border they are often prevented, on grounds of copyright, from using the content services (e.g. video services) which they have acquired in their home country.

To bring down those barriers, the Commission has decided to make legislative proposals before the end of 2015 to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works by users across the EU, including through further harmonization measures.

At present, the copyright law in Europe is only harmonized in parts, but the national courts are increasingly filing requests to the CJEU for preliminary rulings on copyright related cases, asking for the CJEU´s interpretation of the already existing European Directives. Those CJEU decisions can be considered as guidelines for the further development of the harmonized European copyright law on Europe´s way from the partial harmonization to the European Digital Single Market, and the CJEU decisions will most probably affect the Commission´s legislative proposals in regard to the creation and completion of the Digital Single Market. Therefore, it is worth to observe the growing number of CJEU decisions on copyright related matters carefully.