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Document 62013CJ0580

Coty Germany

Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber) of 16 July 2015.
Coty Germany GmbH v Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg.
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesgerichtshof.
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Intellectual and industrial property — Directive 2004/48/EC — Article 8(3)(e) — Sale of counterfeit goods — Right to information in the context of proceedings for infringement of an intellectual property right — Legislation of a Member State which allows banking institutions to refuse a request for information relating to a bank account (banking secrecy).
Case C-580/13.

Case C‑580/13

Coty Germany GmbH

v

Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg

(Request for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesgerichtshof)

‛Reference for a preliminary ruling — Intellectual and industrial property — Directive 2004/48/EC — Article 8(3)(e) — Sale of counterfeit goods — Right to information in the context of proceedings for infringement of an intellectual property right — Legislation of a Member State which allows banking institutions to refuse a request for information relating to a bank account (banking secrecy)’

Summary — Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber), 16 July 2015

  1. Approximation of laws — Enforcement of intellectual property rights — Directive 2004/48 — Obligation on the Member States, when transposing directives, to allow a fair balance to be struck between the various fundamental rights protected by the EU legal order — Obligation on the national authorities not to rely on an interpretation of those directives which would be in conflict with those fundamental rights or with the other general principles of EU law

    (Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Art. 52(1); European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/48)

  2. Approximation of laws — Enforcement of intellectual property rights — Directive 2004/48 — Right to information in the context of proceedings for infringement of an intellectual property right — National provision allowing, in an unlimited and unconditional manner, a banking institution to invoke banking secrecy in order to refuse to provide, in the context of those proceedings, information concerning the name and address of an account holder — Not permissible — Determination by the referring court whether there are, in the national law concerned, any other means or other remedies which would allow the competent judicial authorities to order the provision of the necessary information

    (European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/48, Recital 17 and Art. 8(1) and (3)(e))

  1.  See the text of the decision.

    (see paras 33, 34)

  2.  Article 8(3)(e) of Directive 2004/48 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights must be interpreted as precluding a national provision which allows, in an unlimited and unconditional manner, a banking institution to invoke banking secrecy in order to refuse to provide, pursuant to Article 8(1)(c) of that directive, information concerning the name and address of an account holder.

    That unlimited and unconditional authorisation to invoke banking secrecy is such as to prevent the procedures laid down by Directive 2004/48 and the measures taken by the competent national authorities, in particular when they seek to order the disclosure of necessary information under Article 8(1) of that directive, from taking due account of the specific characteristics of each intellectual property right and, where appropriate, the intentional or unintentional character of the infringement. It follows that an authorisation of that kind is capable of seriously impairing, in the context of Article 8 of Directive 2004/48, the effective exercise of the fundamental right to intellectual property — to the benefit of the right of persons covered by Article 8(1) of Directive 2004/48 to the protection of personal data concerning them — as a result of the obligation, for a banking institution, to respect banking secrecy. Such a national provision taken in isolation is such as to seriously infringe the fundamental right to an effective remedy and, ultimately, the fundamental right to intellectual property enjoyed by the holders of those rights and does not, therefore, comply with the requirement to ensure a fair balance between the various fundamental rights weighed up in Article 8 of Directive 2004/48.

    It is, however, for the referring court to determine whether there are, in the national law concerned, any other means or other remedies which would allow the competent judicial authorities to order that the necessary information concerning the identity of persons who are covered by Article 8(1) of Directive 2004/48 be provided, in view of the specific circumstances of each case, in accordance with recital 17 in the preamble to that directive.

    (see paras 39-43, operative part)

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