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Monday, 22 November 2004


The European Court of Justice (ECJ) may be tottering beneath the weight of cases referred to it from European Union Member States, but the European Commission still finds it necessary to accuse Sweden of failing to refer enough questions to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling. According to The Lawyer, the Swedes have referred just three cases to the ECJ since 2001, as against 155 from Germany, 122 from Italy and 57 from the UK. The Commission has issued a final warning letter, giving the Swedes two months to say how they will encourage more ECJ referrals.

The IPKat thinks this is a stupid overreaction. Why should parties in trade mark disputes, for example, have to pay extra for the privilege of waiting an extra two and a half years (more where the same case is referred twice to the ECJ) before it can be resolved? His mathematical friend Merpel adds that Sweden's population is just under 9 million: if her population were the size of the UK, a proportional increase would result in a most respectable 20 references to the ECJ.

Some Swedish cases which were referred to the ECJ: Adidas (on free movement of goods and detention of counterfeits), Lindqvist (on data protection) and Svenska Spel (on database right).

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