UK – Lucasfilm v Ainsworth / Appeal

Posted: December 16th, 2009

Lucasfilm Limited c.s. v. Andrew Ainsworth c.s., High Court of Justice, Court of Appeal (Civil Division), UK, 16 December 2009, Docket No. Case No: A3/2008/2878/2893/2897

Copyrights case with interesting reasonings on justicialibility ('subject-matter' jurisdiction), also applicable to patents.

The Court of Appeal is: 'not impressed by the supposed difference in principle between questions of subsistence or registration of the right and its infringement.'

Questioning the scope of a monopoly granted by a sovereign state in a foreign court carries with it the foreign court ruling on the scope of a sovereign act, which is not different in kind from ruling on its validity. The distinction drawn in principle by the Regulation is drawn in the context of a fully balanced scheme and where a policy decision had to be made. Could the courts of one Member State revoke a patent registered in another Member State? That was seen as going too far and so was not allowed at that stage of the development of a European cross-border jurisdiction.

The Court of Appeal accordingly concludes that the supposed international jurisdiction over copyright infringement claims does not exist.  

Read the judgment (in English) here.

One Response

  1. Leo Steenbeek says:

    It is important to note that the court refused to hear a case involving an IP right (copyright) from a country (US) that is neither an EU Member State nor bound by the Lugano Convention. The court did not believe that Article 2 of Regulation 44/2001 forced it to accept subject-matter jurisdiction for such a case merely because the defendant is located within its territory.
    The court’s decision does not apply to IP rights from EU / Lugano states.

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