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Trademark Decisions|Span EU, Adviser Says

(CN) - Decisions on trademark violations in one member state may apply to other countries within the European Union, an adviser to the Court of Justice said.

Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón advised the high court that cases of trademark infringement taking place in more than one EU country may go through a single national court, although enforcement should be decided by each national court.

French shipping company Chronopost sued DHL France for using its registered mark Webshipping. When a court in Paris ruled in Chronopost's favor but restricted its application to French territory, the French court asked Europe's high court for its take on the issue.

Trademark regulation in the European Union utilizes both centralized and decentralized systems, where national courts also act as trademark courts for the entire European Community.

Villalón said that, in principle, rulings from national courts are valid throughout the EU. The scope of enforcement may only apply to actual infringement, he continued, while enforcement of penal measures shall be decided by that court at a later stage.

Enforcement powers end at national boundaries, he said, although if other national courts take up an issue currently litigated elsewhere, it must recognize any penalties issued.

Accordingly, application of penalties should follow national law, Villalón concluded.

Although Villalón's advice is not binding, the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice usually rules in line with the recommendations of advocate generals.

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