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Document 62009CA0324

Case C-324/09: Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 12 July 2011 (reference for a preliminary ruling from the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) (United Kingdom)) — L'Oréal SA and Others v eBay International AG and Others (Trade marks — Internet — Offer for sale, on an online marketplace targeted at consumers in the European Union, of trade-marked goods intended, by the proprietor, for sale in third States — Removal of the packaging of the goods — Directive 89/104/EEC — Regulation (EC) No 40/94 — Liability of the online-marketplace operator — Directive 2000/31/EC ( ‘Directive on electronic commerce’ ) — Injunctions against that operator — Directive 2004/48/EC ( ‘Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights’ )

OJ C 269, 10.9.2011, p. 3–5 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

10.9.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 269/3


Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 12 July 2011 (reference for a preliminary ruling from the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) (United Kingdom)) — L'Oréal SA and Others v eBay International AG and Others

(Case C-324/09) (1)

(Trade marks - Internet - Offer for sale, on an online marketplace targeted at consumers in the European Union, of trade-marked goods intended, by the proprietor, for sale in third States - Removal of the packaging of the goods - Directive 89/104/EEC - Regulation (EC) No 40/94 - Liability of the online-marketplace operator - Directive 2000/31/EC (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) - Injunctions against that operator - Directive 2004/48/EC (‘Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights’)

2011/C 269/05

Language of the case: English

Referring court

High Court of Justice (Chancery Division)

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicants: L'Oréal SA, Lancôme parfums et beauté & Cie SNC, Laboratoire Garnier & Cie, L’Oréal (UK) Ltd

Defendants: eBay International, eBay Europe SARL, eBay (UK) Ltd, Stephen Potts, Tracy Ratchford, Marie Ormsby, James Clarke, Joanna Clarke, Glen Fox, Rukhsana Bi

Re:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Interpretation of Articles 5(1)(a) and 7(1) and (2) of Directive 89/104/EEC: First Council of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks (OJ 1989 L 40, p. 1), of Articles 9(1)(a) and 13(1) and (2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 40/94 of 20 December 1993 on the Community trade mark (OJ 1994 L 11, p. 1), of Article 14(1) of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) (OJ 2000 L 178, p. 1) and of Article 11 of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (OJ 2004 L 157, p. 45) — Concept of ‘placing on the market’ — Samples of perfume and cosmetic products intended to be offered to consumers free of charge — Concept of the ‘use’ of a trade mark — Registration by a trader of a sign identical with a trade mark with a service provider operating an Internet search engine in order that, upon the sign in question being used as a search term, there should automatically appear on screen the URL of his website offering goods and services identical with those covered by the trade mark

Operative part of the judgment

1.

Where goods located in a third State, which bear a trade mark registered in a Member State of the European Union or a Community trade mark and have not previously been put on the market in the European Economic Area or, in the case of a Community trade mark, in the European Union, (i) are sold by an economic operator on an online marketplace without the consent of the trade mark proprietor to a consumer located in the territory covered by the trade mark or (ii) are offered for sale or advertised on such a marketplace targeted at consumers located in that territory, the trade mark proprietor may prevent that sale, offer for sale or advertising by virtue of the rules set out in Article 5 of First Council Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks, as amended by the Agreement on the European Economic Area of 2 May 1992, or in Article 9 of Council Regulation (EC) No 40/94 of 20 December 1993 on the Community trade mark. It is the task of the national courts to assess on a case-by-case basis whether relevant factors exist, on the basis of which it may be concluded that an offer for sale or an advertisement displayed on an online marketplace accessible from the territory covered by the trade mark is targeted at consumers in that territory.

2.

Where the proprietor of a trade mark supplies to its authorised distributors items bearing that mark, intended for demonstration to consumers in authorised retail outlets, and bottles bearing the mark from which small quantities can be taken for supply to consumers as free samples, those goods, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, are not put on the market within the meaning of Directive 89/104 and Regulation No 40/94.

3.

Article 5 of Directive 89/104 and Article 9 of Regulation No 40/94 must be interpreted as meaning that the proprietor of a trade mark may, by virtue of the exclusive right conferred by the mark, oppose the resale of goods such as those at issue in the main proceedings, on the ground that the person reselling the goods has removed their packaging, where the consequence of that removal is that essential information, such as information relating to the identity of the manufacturer or the person responsible for marketing the cosmetic product, is missing. Where the removal of the packaging has not resulted in the absence of that information, the trade mark proprietor may nevertheless oppose the resale of an unboxed perfume or cosmetic product bearing his trade mark, if he establishes that the removal of the packaging has damaged the image of the product and, hence, the reputation of the trade mark.

4.

On a proper construction of Article 5(1)(a) of Directive 89/104 and Article 9(1)(a) of Regulation No 40/94, the proprietor of a trade mark is entitled to prevent an online marketplace operator from advertising — on the basis of a keyword which is identical to his trade mark and which has been selected in an internet referencing service by that operator — goods bearing that trade mark which are offered for sale on the marketplace, where the advertising does not enable reasonably well-informed and reasonably observant internet users, or enables them only with difficulty, to ascertain whether the goods concerned originate from the proprietor of the trade mark or from an undertaking economically linked to that proprietor or, on the contrary, originate from a third party.

5.

The operator of an online marketplace does not ‘use’ — for the purposes of Article 5 of Directive 89/104 or Article 9 of Regulation No 40/94 — signs identical with or similar to trade marks which appear in offers for sale displayed on its site.

6.

Article 14(1) of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) must be interpreted as applying to the operator of an online marketplace where that operator has not played an active role allowing it to have knowledge or control of the data stored.

The operator plays such a role when it provides assistance which entails, in particular, optimising the presentation of the offers for sale in question or promoting them.

Where the operator of the online marketplace has not played an active role within the meaning of the preceding paragraph and the service provided falls, as a consequence, within the scope of Article 14(1) of Directive 2000/31, the operator none the less cannot, in a case which may result in an order to pay damages, rely on the exemption from liability provided for in that provision if it was aware of facts or circumstances on the basis of which a diligent economic operator should have realised that the offers for sale in question were unlawful and, in the event of it being so aware, failed to act expeditiously in accordance with Article 14(1)(b) of Directive 2000/31.

7.

The third sentence of Article 11 of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights must be interpreted as requiring the Member States to ensure that the national courts with jurisdiction in relation to the protection of intellectual property rights are able to order the operator of an online marketplace to take measures which contribute, not only to bringing to an end infringements of those rights by users of that marketplace, but also to preventing further infringements of that kind. Those injunctions must be effective, proportionate, and dissuasive and must not create barriers to legitimate trade.


(1)  OJ C 267, 7.11.2009.


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