Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Paul Torremans
Chapter 8: Jurisdiction in intellectual property cases
Jurisdiction in intellectual property (IP) cases is a topic that has been discussed frequently over the last decade. Having been involved in these discussions and having published in the area repeatedly, it is not my aim to repeat the whole discussion in this contribution or to summarise it here. Instead I would like to offer a European perspective, with a focus on very recent developments and the highly problematical points. In that perspective there is also space for suggestions for law reform in this area. Jurisdiction is in this area governed by the Brussels I Regulation. The rules of that Regulation apply to intellectual property, and that results, for example, in a standard rule that the defendant can always be sued in the courts of the country where he or she is domiciled. That rule does not create particular difficulties for IP cases. It does therefore not come as a surprise that it has been retained as a cornerstone in the conflict of laws in intellectual property (CLIP) Principles. On this point no reform is needed. Where the proposals on intellectual property do propose change is the current situation in the Brussels I Regulation that makes any alternative jurisdiction rule subject to the requirements of Article 4(1) having been met; that is without a domicile in one of the member states no court can take jurisdiction on the basis of an alternative rule contained in the Brussels I Regulation.
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