The Barcelona Court of Appeal, following European Court of Justice case law regarding the exhaustion of the trademark rights, recently declared that Red Paralela SL and Red Paralela BCN SL had infringed Schweppes International Limited's Spanish trademarks by importing and commercialising in Spain Schweppes-branded tonics which had been manufactured in the United Kingdom by Coca-Cola/Atlantic Industries, the owner of the UK SCHWEPPES trademarks.
In July 2019 the Oviedo Court of Appeal confirmed a trial court decision which had found the defendant guilty of copyright infringement, sentenced him to six months' imprisonment and ordered him to pay the plaintiff's court costs and damages of an amount to be determined during the enforcement of the sentence on grounds of civil liability. In reaching its decision, the court highlighted the multiple contradictions in the defendant's allegations and confirmed the value of the evidence.
A recent European Court of Justice judgment is good news for EU designers as it confirms what has already been stated by some Spanish courts – namely, that a design need not have artistic merit, aesthetic value or a particular visual attraction to qualify for copyright protection. Although the judgment was issued in response to a ruling by the Portuguese courts, it will undoubtedly have clear consequences throughout the European Union. This article examines the decision in view of the Spanish legal framework.
The Madrid Court of Appeal recently confirmed a Madrid Trial Court Number 11 decision which had sentenced a Spanish resident of Chinese origin to five months' imprisonment for the possession of 9,317 counterfeit items of clothing – including t-shirts which infringed FC Barcelona's IP rights – for commercial purposes. The appeal court also confirmed the trial court's order of a fine, additional penalties, civil liability payments and compensation for legal costs.
Grifols, SA filed a lawsuit before the Barcelona courts against Algoritmos Procesos y Diseños, SA (APD) for infringement of a patent which protected a blister pack handling machine. Once the lawsuit was admitted, APD filed a declinatory plea due to lack of territorial jurisdiction. However, the court rejected APD's plea and pointed out that this was a case of forum choosing (rather than forum shopping) which illustrates the importance of patent owners' right to choose.