It is with the greatest sadness that the IPKat has just learned of the death last night, at the early age of 60, of Dámaso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer. An Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities for nearly 15 years, he passed away on the day following the hearing in Case C-49/08 P Lego Juris v OHIM (the 'Lego brick' appeal against this decision).
A strong-minded and independent thinker, Dámaso contributed very greatly to the development of the role of the Advocate General in guiding the Court's thoughts; indeed, together with Manuel López Escudero he wrote The Institution of Advocate General at the Court of Justice (here), which demonstrates his view of the positive influence of the Advocate General, whose individual position was able to be more juridically coherent than the collegiate fudge with which readers of the Court's judgments are so familiar.
His most recent IP Opinions have involved the conflict between trade mark law and other rights: protected national emblems were at issue in the 'battle of the maple leaves' in Joined Cases C‑202/08 P and C‑208/08 P American Clothing Associates SA v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market and Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market v American Clothing Associates SA, while in Joined Cases T-225/06, T-255/06, T-257/06 and T-309/06 Budějovický Budvar, národní podnik v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, Anheuser-Busch, Inc it was the intersection of trade marks with geographical indications that was at stake. Then in Joined Cases C-468/06 to C-478/06 Sot. Lélos Kai Sia EE (and Others) v GlaxoSmithKline AEVE it was the complex interrelationship between trade mark licensing and competition which came under his keen scrutiny.
There are almost too many trade mark cases to mention. The roll-call includes Adidas, Adam Opel, Elizabeth Emanuel, Picasso/Picaro, and what for most English practitioners will be his most notorious role, in Arsenal v Reed -- where the authorities cited by the learned Advocate General included the late Liverpool Football Club manager Bill Shankly -- all these cases crossed his desk on their way to their final judgment.
It was not just in the field of trade marks that Dámaso made an impression. Copyright too was at his fingertips. Thus in Case C-240/07 Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH v Falcon Neue Medien Vertrieb GmbH it fell to him to consider whether old Bob Dylan recordings were still protected by copyright in Germany. An indefatiguable and retentive researcher with the ability to make 'links' where others saw no connection, Dámaso provided amply-referenced footnotes which might substitute for an economic and cultural history of the Western world in the absence of any better source.