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ADJUSTING THE CRIMINAL SANCTIONS FOR THE INFRINGEMENT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

(Supreme Court of Greece – Judgement No. 907/2017)

According to the article 66 § 1 of the Greek Law 2121/1993 whoever violates the rules of multilateral international conventions on the protection of intellectual property register without having the permission of the competent authority, commits a criminal offence.

If he/she is found guilty he face the sanctions provided by the Law, i.e. he/she is punished with an imprisonment term of at least one year and  a penalty that may vary between 2900  € and 15000 €.

The punishment is conditional upon the defendant having infringed the provisions on intellectual property rights with dolus malus, i.e. knowing that he/she is acting in a way transgressing the Law.

In the case at issue the Supreme Court confirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal of Larissa after holding that there was a disagreement between the defendant and the complaining company entitled to take care of the protection of intellectual property right as to the sum that the defendant had to pay. This disagreement resulted in the defendant receiving belatedly the permission of the competent authority, while he had already diffused the songs the rights of intellectual property referred to. Upon this basis the Court considered that the defendant has not acted with dolus malus and therefore should be acquitted.

This reasoning has to be assessed in a positive way because it reduces the impact of a quite excessive trend to implement through criminal sanctions the protection of intellectual property rights.


Participation of our law firm in a Conference in Bulgaria on Cross-border Insolvency Proceedings

One of our lawyers, Maria Keke, participated in a conference in Sofia on June  23rd, 2017 entitled “Cross-Border Insolvency Proceedings: Detecting Best Practices“, within the framework of the Program of the European Union “Save Comp“. The subject of the oral presentation was the following:  “The Impact of Insolvency on International Commercial Arbitration”.

 

  • Termination of a Tacit Framework Agreement with the Distributor (judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, 14.7.2016, Granarolo/Ambrosi, case C-196/15)

In its judgment rendered on July 14th, 2016 regarding case C-196/15the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) dealt with issues related to the termination by the supplier of his long-standing business relationship with the distributor, who was reselling the goods delivered to him by the supplier through a series of individual contracts of sale. In such an event it can be accepted that there was a tacit framework agreement implying rights and duties for both parties, thus creating a long-standing business relationship between them. Its existence (out of which arise any compensation claims of the distributor in case of a termination by the supplier) must be demonstrated in the concrete case upon the basis of consistent evidence submitted to the court. This evidence may include in particular the existence of a long-standing business relationship between supplier and distributor, the good faith between the parties, the regularity of the transactions and their development over time expressed in terms of quantity and value, any agreements as to prices charged and/or discounts granted, as well as the correspondence exchanged.
Regarding the question of international jurisdiction the referring court was asking about, the CJEU held that the legal qualification of a long-standing contractual relationship as a ‘contract for the sale of goods’ or as a ‘contract for the provision of services’ is conditional upon the characteristic obligation of the contract at issue (Article 5 point (1) (b) Regulation 44/2001). Classifying it as a ‘contract for the provision of services’ facilitates suing the supplier for compensation before the courts of the distributor’s domicile/seat, if this option seems beneficial to him/her.