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Posts Tagged: "European Commission"

European Commission Launches Antitrust Action Against Amazon

The European Commission has formed a preliminary view that Amazon has breached Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by distorting competition in online retail markets. It announced on November 10 that it had sent a Statement of Objections to the e-commerce company. Article 102 (formerly Article 82 TEC) prohibits “any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it.” Amazon is said to be dominant in France and Germany, its biggest markets in the EU. The Commission said that Amazon systematically relies on non-public business data of independent sellers on its marketplace to the benefit of its own competing retail business. This data includes the number of units of products ordered and shipped, sales revenues, and the number of online visits made to offers.

European Commission Proposes Strategies for Data and AI

The European Commission is seeking feedback on its new strategy for data and has also launched a public consultation on a White Paper on Artificial Intelligence. Both measures were announced yesterday (February 19) by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager; and Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, September 27: CAFC Partially Vacates PTAB Decision, Colarulli Appointed to Head LESI, and Copyright Office Seeks Comments on Music Modernization Act

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision reversing the PTAB regarding proper primary reference and CBM review findings; USPTO Director Iancu told IPO Annual Meeting attendees that subject matter eligibility guidelines are working; an EPO-EUIPO report shows IP-intensive industries contribute nearly half of EU GDP; the producers of the Broadway musical Hamilton have filed a motion to dismiss copyright claims filed in connection with a museum exhibit; eBay CEO Devin Wenig stepped down; the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the en banc rehearing of the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright case; the U.S. Copyright Office is seeking public comments regarding the blanket licensing structure under the Music Modernization Act; and Sandoz has moved forward with a PTAB challenge on patent claims covering AbbVie’s Imbruvica.

Some Progress in the International Effort to Harmonize Trade Secret Protection

In 1994, the United States was winding up the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations leading to the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Tucked in among the toothbrush and rice tariffs was the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property. The TRIPS Agreement was seen as a breakthrough, setting common standards for protecting IP, including provisions on trade secrets that closely aligned with U.S. law. Twenty years later, I visited a friend at the WTO to find out what had actually been happening as a result of TRIPS. I was especially interested in what countries had done since 1994 to bring their national laws into harmony with the trade secret requirements. Because each member of the WTO was supposed to submit reports on its compliance, I asked about them. Yes, we have them, my friend told me. They were in boxes in the next room. But no one had ever read them. Just months before my visit, the European Commission had received an industry report lamenting the legal chaos facing companies that tried to enforce their trade secret rights in Europe. Although every one of the 27 member states of the EU was also a signatory to the TRIPS agreement, virtually none of them was in compliance. In response, the Commission issued a “Directive,” instructing all member states to (finally) harmonize some basic aspects of their trade secret laws.

Is Europe really (*still*) moving away from protecting platforms and internet intermediaries?

This time last year, the combination of the Commission’s September 2017 Communication and the proposed Article 13 of the draft Copyright Directive led some to conclude that Europe was indeed moving away from protecting internet intermediaries. Although the Communication has been backed up by the March 2018 Commission Recommendation (with its focus on terrorist content), whether Article 13 is ever enacted and in what form is still to be decided. Meanwhile, we await answers from the CJEU regarding the permissible subject-matter breadth and territorial width of injunctions made against intermediaries, and will keep an eye out for legislative action from the Commission following from its Recommendation earlier this year.

European Commission Unveils Digital Tax Proposal Which Could Generate Billions in Tax Revenues from American Tech Giants

The European Commission has recently proposed new tax rules that would significantly alter the tax regime faced by technology companies operating in the European Union, including American tech giants like Google and Facebook. The proposal from European authorities would tax tech company revenues in the country where those revenues are generated rather than where the companies are regionally located; supporters of the proposal note that this would keep tech companies from reducing tax payments by locating regional headquarters in European nations with lower tax levels.

Embrace IP That Works: Importance of Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) in the European Union

The European Union suffers from an investment deficit relative to other industrialized nations. A recent report by the European Commission emphasizes this impact, “the EU needs to put in place better incentives and conditions for businesses to innovate” in important areas such as market regulations, intellectual property rights protection, barriers to entrepreneurship, and ease of doing business. Given this, encouraging investment is essential to future growth. Weakening the IP incentives embedded in SPCs would be a step in the wrong direction.

The New Era of Antitrust Law and Policy in Standards: Embracing Evidence Based Policy-making

On November 10, 2017, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) new top antitrust enforcer, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Makan Delrahim, delivered a powerful speech on antitrust law and policy enforcement towards intellectual property rights (IPRs). Former USPTO Director David Kappos described it as “the most important DOJ antitrust speech on IP during my decades practicing law”. … The speech clarifies that the new AAG views “any policy proposals with one-sided focus on hold-up with great skepticism because they pose a serious threat on the innovating process,” and submits that antitrust law should not be misused to police the private commitments such as FRAND that IP holders make to SSOs. In this, the speech agrees with the view shared by several scholars that FRAND commitments are contracts and a potential breach of those commitments may not be best suited under the purview of antitrust law and that “there are perfectly adequate and more appropriate common law and statutory remedies available to the SSO or its members”.

European Commission publishes proposed text for new e-Privacy regulation

This new e-Privacy Regulation, if adopted, will replace the current e-Privacy Directive and will establish, together with the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, a new privacy legal framework for electronic communications. The proposal aims to be lex specialis to the GDPR. Probably to ensure consistency with the new privacy legal framework for electronic communications, the entry into force provision of the leaked text has been amended to state expressly that the e-Privacy Regulation will come into force on the same date as the GDPR (25 May 2018). With many legislative hurdles still remaining before it is approved, this represents an ambitious timeline for EU legislators.

Getty Images targets Google’s image search in EU by filing competition complaint

Google, the Internet software and services arm of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAG:GOOGL), offers a tremendously valuable portal to the wider Internet through its flagship search engine service. One of the more popular aspects of Google’s search engine is the image search features; as of July 2010, Google’s image search was delivering one billion pageviews per day to the company and 10…

Stabilization and Association Agreement and its Impact on the Protection of IP Rights in Kosovo

After several years of negotiations between the Kosovo government and the European Commission, the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) entered into force on April 1, 2016. The entry into force of the SAA is an important development for Kosovo since this constitutes the first contractual relationship between Kosovo and the European Union. The SAA includes several chapters on various political and economic issues as well as provisions aiming to promote EU standards in many areas, including intellectual property. I will first highlight the main provisions of the SAA concerning IP rights and compare them with the respective provisions in a few other SAAs that the EU signed with other countries in the region. I will then analyze what the entry into force of the SAA means for the Kosovo government in terms of IP protection and how this development will positively affect trademark holders and IP practitioners.

From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield: Making order from chaos on data protection

To replace the now-defunct Safe Harbor agreement, last week the European Commission published the first details of its transatlantic Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield is meant to strengthen obligations on US companies to protect European personal data, and improve regulations regarding data monitoring by US government agencies. With the release of the draft Privacy Shield, many are skeptical that it will ensure proper privacy protection and some believe that it may be challenged after implementation.

Digital Single Market: EU-wide consultation on online platforms has launched

The Consultation is part of the Commission’s assessment of the role of online platforms, promised in its Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (DSM) dated 6 May 2015. The Consultation covers a range of topics, including several controversial issues concerning transparency of online platforms and the proper extent of the hosting defence under the E-Commerce Directive. Interested parties have until around the end of December 2015 to respond (the exact closing date has not yet been published).

The Unified European Patent: What it Means for International Enterprises Seeking Protection on the Continent

On February 19, 24 members of the 27 European Union signed a unified patent court agreement in Brussels, Belgium. Bulgaria is expected to sign once it completes internal administrative procedures, but because the single patent will only need to be in English, German or French, only the countries of Poland and Spain have so far refused to join in the effort.

Some Observations on the Market Reverberations of the Smart Phone Patent Wars

Commenting on the Yahoo! Inc. patent infringement lawsuit filed against Facebook in March of 2012, Mr. Cuban concludes his post by stating: “I hope Yahoo[!] is awarded $50 billion dollars. It is the only way that consumers will realize what is at stake with patent law as is. Then maybe we can get it right and further innovation and competition in this country.” These statements are from a very influential technology entrepreneur, investor and generally-recognized American business guru. Thus, it would seem that the continuous negative headlines from the smart phone patent wars are definitely giving patents a bad rap!