A new Trade Secrets Act, which implements the EU Trade Secrets Directive, recently entered into force. Even if the strengthened position for trade secret owners is welcome, discrepancies remain between trade secrets and other IP rights. Further, any dispute on trade secrets will not be subject to the jurisdiction of Sweden's specialised IP courts – jurisdiction will remain vested in the courts of general jurisdiction and often subject to labour dispute rules.
The Patent and Market Court of Appeal recently overturned a Patent and Market Court judgment relating to Swedish Match's marketing conduct for snus products. While the Tobacco Act restricts the way snus may be marketed (eg, marketing may not invite the use of tobacco or be intrusive), the court found that Swedish Match had objective reasons that were also proportionate when introducing its labelling system.
A Swedish district court recently ruled on a matter where approximately 800 Chileans had sued a Swedish mining company for damages, based on the grounds that the mining company had exported toxic waste which subsequently caused damage to the plaintiffs' health. The court held that the mining company was not liable for damages and the plaintiffs were obliged to pay the mining company's full litigation costs.
Under the Competition Act, claims that a document is covered by legal privilege may be assessed by the courts. However, no equivalent possibility of judicial review exists for documents that allegedly fall outside the scope of dawn raid warrants. The question remains as to whether the lack of judicial review of such decisions is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law.
The Supreme Court has rendered its judgment in a long-running dispute concerning private copying levies on mobile phones with an external memory device. The court found that the right to collect private copying levies extends to devices which consist of two technically independent devices, even if the independent devices are not "especially suited for the production of copies of works for private use" and would thus not be subject to private copying levies if sold individually.
The Supreme Court has confirmed that domain names are property which can be forfeited to the state, providing rights holders with another measure in their fight against online infringement. The court noted that the concept of 'property' is central for the rules on forfeiture. It concluded that a person who registers a domain name is granted an exclusive right to that domain name and the right to a domain name may be subject to dispute resolution and entitlement claims.
In the mid-1980s a Swedish mining company exported toxic waste to Chile to be processed. In the 1990s the waste was allegedly used in building foundations and the high arsenic levels allegedly caused serious health issues to the local residents. Subsequently, close to 800 Chileans sued the Swedish mining company. The trial started in October 2017 after more than three years of preparatory proceedings. A decision is expected in early 2018.
In December 2017 the Svea Court of Appeal dismissed an abuse of dominance damages claim against Telia Company AB. In 2013 Telia was fined for abusing its dominant position in the asymmetric digital subscriber line market by applying a margin squeeze on its competitors. Earlier in 2017 a follow-on claim by telecoms operator Yarps, based on the same infringement, was rejected by the Svea Court of Appeal.
In eight landmark decisions, the Patent and Market Court of Appeal decided that the terms for already granted supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) should be recalculated in order to reflect a 2015 European Court of Justice decision regarding the method for calculating SPC terms under EU Regulation 469/2009. Several pharmaceutical companies that had been granted SPCs noted that the Patent and Registration Office's method of calculating SPC terms was not in line with EU law.
After years of intense debate, a new government bill will give the Competition Authority greater decision-making powers in relation to notified mergers in Sweden. An official government report states that the authority's decision-making powers should lead to an increased incentive for fast, high-quality decision making and eliminate time losses that might arise as a result of the authority preparing a lawsuit instead of a decision.
The Supreme Court recently clarified that copyright infringement is not a crime where the presumed penalty is imprisonment. This decision marks a change in relation to previous case law regarding the penalty for copyright infringement through illegal file sharing. The Supreme Court has now aligned the view on the severity of IP infringements. This is a welcome development, although rights holders may have benefited from a stricter view and a development in the opposite direction.
The Land and Environment Court of Appeal recently determined a case regarding exemption from national provisions to protect the fungus species Sarcosoma globosum. While the ruling provides some nuance and clarification, the case has since been subject to interesting and varying interpretations by land owners, authorities and law practitioners.
The holder of an IP right which considers that right to be infringed will often seek a preliminary injunction. If the injunction is wrongfully granted and then overturned, the plaintiff is liable to pay damages to the defendant. A recent Supreme Court case discussed several issues relevant to proceedings concerning such damages and damages in general and is likely to be a leading case for years to come.
The Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency recently reassessed the reimbursement status of Cerezyme and VPRIV – two products indicated against Gaucher's disease – and decided to decrease the products' prices. This caused the marketing authorisation holders behind the products to withdraw them from the reimbursement system. Consequently, there is no longer a product against Gaucher's disease that is nationally reimbursed in Sweden.
The Cross-party Committee on Environmental Objectives recently presented its final report, "A climate policy framework for Sweden". The Climate Policy Framework is a result of a cross-party political agreement that will supposedly make the climate a top issue in all policy work. The report resulted in a draft bill which was circulated for consideration. The Council on Legislation presented its views on the new Climate Act in February 2017.
In a recent case, the claimants brought forward other circumstances to demonstrate that a preparatory patent infringement had occurred. The Stockholm District Court was clear that it must be demonstrated that preparatory acts are undertaken with the intent to commit or promote patent infringement. The decision appears to indicate that stating in general terms that valid patent rights will be respected is sufficient to oppose claims of preparatory infringement.
The government recently issued new directives to review the pricing and reimbursement system and the national financing system for medicinal products. The government declared that the existing system is complex and complicated and must be improved in order to operate a modern healthcare system. The review seeks to find a clear division of responsibilities between the national government and local county councils and regions and to establish foreseeable processes for stakeholders.
The Svea Court of Appeal recently shed much-needed light on whether a right to digital use can be established through the interpretation of recording contracts from a time when such use did not even exist. The case shows how a party to a contract can be found to have consented to new terms regarding digital use through passivity and confirms that a recording artist has standing to seek an injunction on his or her own without the co-creators.
The Stockholm Patent and Market Court recently sentenced four company executives to up to 18 months in prison and ordered them to pay fines and damages amounting to several million Swedish kronor for copyright and trademark infringement through the online sale of counterfeit furniture. In light of the considerable damages, forfeiture of illegal gains and criminal liability, the story is likely to continue with an appeal.
The Environmental Court recently rejected a farmers' organisation's appeal and refused to grant a new emergency authorisation for the use of Stomp SC in Sweden regarding the commercial production of onions. According to the appellant, the decision could jeopardise the competitiveness of certain Swedish crops on the European market, since Stomp SC is allowed in other EU member states and no equally effective alternatives are available in Sweden.