Seminar on CJEU intellectual property cases concerning jurisdiction issues

On Monday 2 November at 2pm in the B28, South Basement (Old College), Meryem Horasan, PhD Candidate at the University of Strathclyde, will present on the following topic:

Jurisdictional Challenges of the Internet: An Analysis of the Recent CJEU Case Law on Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights Online


The global character of infringements on the Internet inevitably requires considering private international law issues. However, the rules on jurisdiction in Brussels I Regulation are complex for online intellectual property rights (IPRs) infringement cases and, thus unpredictable taking into consideration the territorial nature of IPRs and the cross-border nature of the Internet. Although intellectual property law has been harmonised to a great extent in the EU, significant differences remain between Member States. This paper will explore how the CJEU dealt with the jurisdiction issues in cases of alleged online IPRs infringement and determine where it stands now in the light of recent cases.

The question of jurisdiction considered by the CJEU in Pinckney v Mediatech, a case concerning a claim for damages resulting from copyright infringement, and raised more questions than it answered. In October 2013, the CJEU concluded that harm occurs in all Member States in which the website content is made accessible. By doing so, the CJEU departed from the ‘intention to target’ approach established in earlier cases and found jurisdiction based on ‘mere accessibility’ criterion.

In January 2015, the CJEU handed down its decision in Pez Hejduk, a case concerning cross-border jurisdiction over online copyright infringement and came to the conclusion that mere accessibility of a website is sufficient to establish jurisdiction. In doing so, the CJEU confirmed its earlier approach in Pinckney and rejected the opinion of the AG which suggested that Pinckney should not apply to an online infringement where the damage cannot be localised. This paper will ask the question of whether ‘mere accessibility’ of a website from a Member State is adequate to allocate jurisdiction. This paper will also argue that although the CJEU is starting to develop a system regarding jurisdiction issues in cases of alleged online IPRs infringement, the question of whether this system would be an ideal one is disputable.

The talk will be followed by a discussion and an informal wine reception! All students and staff welcome!

Note: The entrance to South Basement of  Old College (near the main entrance of OC and next to the post room) is accessible through swipe-card control. For students and visitors who do not have access, one of our colleagues will be around the entrance from 1.45pm to 2pm. If you are running late, please feel free to ask law reception for help.

Talk and discussion about net neutrality

On Monday 12 October at 2pm in the Neil MacCormick Room (Old College), Evgenia Kanellopoulou, Law Lecturer at the University of Salford (and PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh), will present on the following topic:

‘Reasonable network management, the new old net neutrality’

Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the issue of net neutrality from a European perspective, following recent developments in the United States and proposed changes on a European level.

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has signalled an era of regulatory interference deemed necessary to preserve an open Internet. The recent decision of the FCC to classify broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service and to bring it under its regulatory auspices has put a temporary end to a period of free market activity. In contrast, the debate about net neutrality in Europe has been much less heated and of limited political importance, exactly because of the absence of similar market failures. Arguably, the “anarchy” of the European telecoms markets has served to provide effective protection for an open Internet. The importance of EU competition policy as regards the Internet and the telecommunications markets in general, has been acknowledged in literature. However, the Council Proposal for a new Regulation to harmonise rules on safeguarding access to the open Internet published on 8 July 2015 requires further consideration. Starting with what appears to be a declaration of “respect” for the principle of net neutrality, the proposal proceeds to lay down exceptions or departures from this starting point.

The lack of consensus on whether to provide a universal definition for net neutrality mirrors the series of debates over the regulation of the internet itself, and the debate over multiple stakeholder engagement. Given the different directions the US and the European stated are headed, it seems that the emerging definition for net neutrality will stem from its reasonable network management exceptions that will acquire a different meaning over the two sides of the Atlantic. Are we entering an era where net neutrality is defined by its limitations, and what will this mean for the open internet as envisioned in the US and in Europe?

The talk will be followed by a discussion and an informal wine reception! All students and staff welcome!