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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Beecham reference: can you help?

Today the IPKat reports that the Advocate General's Opinion in Case C-132/07 Beecham Group and Others has been posted on the Curia website. The questions referred to the Court of Justice of the European Communities for a preliminary ruling by the Rechtbank van Koophandel te Brusselas are as follows:

"Must the first paragraph of Article 9 of Regulation ... 1891/04 [IPKat note: that's the implementing regulations for Regulation 1383/03, mentioned below] be construed as prohibiting the competent customs service or the competent customs office from providing, or causing to be provided, information within the terms of Article 9(2) of Regulation ... 1383/03 [IPKat note: that's the Regulation that allows the suspensive detention of imported goods by the customs authorities, to see if they infringe IP rights], or arranging, or causing to be arranged, an inspection within the terms of the second subparagraph of Article 9(3) of Regulation ... 1383/03, so long as the application for action made prior to 1 July 2004 has not been supplemented by the declaration referred to in Article 6 of Regulation ... 1383/03? In other words, is the declaration in question a formal condition governing the continued effectiveness of the application for action?

Is Article 4(2) of Regulation ... 1383/03 to be construed as allowing the Antwerp customs authorities to grant the trade mark proprietor access to six samples of the goods in order to be able to determine whether or not the goods in question were counterfeit, it being understood that such notification of a sample is not to be treated as equivalent to a thorough inspection within the terms of the second subparagraph of Article 9(3) of Regulation ... 1383/03? If so, ought this granting of access to have occurred within the period of three working days laid down in Article 4(1) of that regulation?

Right: this isn't quite the sort of help the IPKat was hoping for -- but he still needs to be rescued ...

Does Regulation ... 1383/03 preclude Belgian customs officials from providing information, acquired in the context of implementation of that regulation, outside the channels envisaged thereby - reference being made to, inter alia, Article 9(2) and the first subparagraph of Article 9(3) of Regulation ... 1383/03 - for example, within the context of the questioning of witnesses or submission of documents ordered by Belgian courts?

Does Regulation ... 1383/03 preclude information obtained as a result of the application of Articles 4(2) (see Question 2) and 9(2) and (3) thereof, other than that referred to in the first subparagraph of Article 9(3), or information obtained pursuant to the questioning of witnesses or submission of documents ordered by Belgian courts (see Question 3), from being used in the context of proceedings not designed to secure a declaration that goods are counterfeit, for example in connection with proceedings to counter parallel imports?"

The Opinion of Advocate General Dámaso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer appears so far in eight languages, none of which is English. Can any kind soul please tell the poor Kats what it's all about? Merpel says, never mind the translations - can someone tell this poor kat what the questions mean in English?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear IPKat,
A summary of AG Colomer's Opinion can be found on

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