Areas of practice
Intellectual Property, Marketing, Anti-Counterfeiting and Litigation
Areas of law
Intellectual Property Law, Marketing Law, Pharma & Healthcare Law
Swedish (native), English and French
The Supreme Court has rendered its judgment in a long-running dispute concerning private copying levies on mobile phones with an external memory device. The court found that the right to collect private copying levies extends to devices which consist of two technically independent devices, even if the independent devices are not "especially suited for the production of copies of works for private use" and would thus not be subject to private copying levies if sold individually.
The Supreme Court has confirmed that domain names are property which can be forfeited to the state, providing rights holders with another measure in their fight against online infringement. The court noted that the concept of 'property' is central for the rules on forfeiture. It concluded that a person who registers a domain name is granted an exclusive right to that domain name and the right to a domain name may be subject to dispute resolution and entitlement claims.
The Supreme Court recently clarified that copyright infringement is not a crime where the presumed penalty is imprisonment. This decision marks a change in relation to previous case law regarding the penalty for copyright infringement through illegal file sharing. The Supreme Court has now aligned the view on the severity of IP infringements. This is a welcome development, although rights holders may have benefited from a stricter view and a development in the opposite direction.
The Supreme Court recently ruled on whether linking to live broadcasts of hockey games was communication to the public, and whether the live broadcasts met the requirements for copyright protection. The court made clear that the EU standard of copyright fully applies in Swedish law. Following this judgment, it would appear that these types of broadcast can rely only on the protection of related rights.
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 recently clarified the scope of jurisdiction of the Swedish courts in infringement actions involving Swedish trademarks where the infringer is domiciled outside the European Union or European Economic Area. Due to the territorial character of nationally registered trademarks, there is a legal interest for the country of registration to hear cases where a national trademark right has been invoked.
The Svea Court of Appeal recently clarified the method used by the courts to determine whether a trademark should be cancelled due to lack of distinctive character or degeneration. The court also provided guidelines on the importance of rights holders enforcing their rights and the value of well-conducted market surveys at the time of registering a trademark.
In certain situations the use of a third party's trademark is allowed – for example, to show that services for another business's products are offered. The Stockholm District Court recently clarified the distinction between the use of logos and word marks for such purposes, confirming that while the former create the impression of a commercial connection between two undertakings, the latter do not.
Whether a crime should be considered as punishable by imprisonment is based on the general penal value of the crime. In a recent case the Supreme Court considered whether a prison sentence is the presumed penalty in counterfeiting cases based on trademark rights. If the penal value is less than one year, it held, prison should be the last resort.
The Supreme Court recently considered Mon.Zon's use of Layher's trademark in its product catalogue. The court held that the product catalogues were directed only to prospective buyers and that the use of a photograph displaying Layher's trademark implied no connection between Layher and Mon.Zon. The court concluded that Mon.Zon had caused no damage to the trademark's indication of origin function.
The Stockholm District Court has rendered its judgment in the case against the operators of the Pirate Bay, considered to be the world's most visited file-sharing website. In a major victory for the entertainment industry, the defendants were each sentenced to one year's imprisonment and ordered to pay Skr30 million in damages to the rights holders concerned.
The Supreme Court recently outlined the assessment of the terms 'trader' and 'marketing' with regard to a municipality's use of a private individual's picture in newspaper advertisements and other informative material. After a city in a municipality had been named the European capital of culture, the municipality used a picture showing a person. The person sued the municipality for damages on the grounds that it had used the picture in marketing the municipality and its business without his consent.