In its first judgment of 2021, the Labour Court used a textbook case of misappropriation of trade secrets – where a previous employee had absconded with trade secrets and copyright-protected works that were subsequently used by his new competing venture – to clarify the method to be applied when calculating total damages under both legal regimes. It will be interesting to see how the courts interpret and apply this principle in future cases.
In the Swedish legal system, the specialist IP courts handle patent infringement claims, while the general courts handle contractual claims. But such different claims can be combined and handled jointly by the specialist courts under certain circumstances. In a recent case, the Supreme Court clarified under which circumstances patent claims and such civil claims can be combined and handled jointly.
The Patent and Market Court of Appeal recently ordered several internet service providers to take blocking measures against Sci-Hub and LibGen. The case is interesting in light of the court's 2019 decision in a similar case on interim blocking measures in which it denied blocking injunctions due to a lack of proportionality and issued stern words about the evidence invoked by the claimant and the risk of overblocking legitimate content.
For the first time, the Patent and Market Court of Appeal has confirmed that a watch can be protected by copyright as a work of applied art, even in a crowded design field. The decision enables rights holders to not only pursue counterfeits on the basis of trademark infringement, but also to prosecute copycat watch models on the basis of copyright protection in physical and digital environments.
The Supreme Court recently rejected the application of a hypothetical licence fee to calculate reasonable compensation for massive copyright infringement through the operation of an illegal streaming site. This decision raises several interesting questions, including to what extent an infringer's illegal business model should be taken into account when calculating reasonable compensation.
The Supreme Court recently declared that the mere passive storage of backups of copyrighted software with expired licences does not constitute copyright infringement. The judgment is significant as it clarifies which actions constitute copyright infringement and, from a practical perspective, relieves licensees from having to mine their backup servers in pursuit of potential 'sleeper' infringements.
On the ever-growing market for streaming services and online access to TV broadcasts, illegal services are common and sometimes difficult to shut down due to their technical complexity and the multi-jurisdictional scope of the infringing activities. The Patent and Market Court recently held three persons liable for global retransmissions of TV broadcasts, sentencing them to prison and awarding rights holders significant compensation for damages.
The Svea Court of Appeal recently shed much-needed light on whether a right to digital use can be established through the interpretation of recording contracts from a time when such use did not even exist. The case shows how a party to a contract can be found to have consented to new terms regarding digital use through passivity and confirms that a recording artist has standing to seek an injunction on his or her own without the co-creators.
In the first decision of its kind from a Swedish appellate court, a Svea Court of Appeal panel recently found that car rims do not constitute spare parts and thus enjoy the protections offered by the EU Community Designs Regulation. The court's findings give the spare parts exemption a fittingly narrow and functional interpretation in line with the regulation.
The Supreme Court has strengthened the position of copyright holders in enforcing their rights against companies trying to circumvent court-ordered injunctions. Companies are generally not responsible for the actions of third parties. However, the company can be held responsible if it fails to prove that it has taken reasonable measures to prevent the third party from violating the injunction.
The Patent and Market Court of Appeal recently assessed the use of quotations from wine reviews in ads and found the terms 'bargain' and 'recommended' and the phrase 'an excellent alternative for the big party' acceptable under the applicable Swedish and EU law. This ruling marks a small but significant shift in the strict Swedish jurisprudence on the subject and may give market actors a reason to pop a celebratory bottle.
Established case law provides that the Marketing Act is generally applicable to cross-border marketing activities that target or have an effect in Sweden. However, EU legislation offers exceptions to this rule. The Market Court recently examined the applicability of this EU legislation and the question of whether alcoholic beverages may be advertised in Sweden through direct marketing by mail.