Maritime and Commercial Court correct venue for trademark matters
In Metro Sportswear Ltd v Blom (Case V-177-05, October 11 2006), the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court has confirmed that it has jurisdiction and is the correct venue for cases in which the Danish Trademarks Act has a significant importance.
Metro Sportswear Ltd, the manufacturer of the CANADA GOOSE jacket, initially filed a claim against the defendant, an individual named Claus Blom, with the Maritime and Commercial Court following a Customs seizure of a number of counterfeit CANADA GOOSE jackets. Blom objected to the formality regarding the correct venue for the case and this issue came before the Maritime and Commercial Court.
Blom claimed that the correct venue for the case was his home court. Metro argued that all the issues raised by its claims fell under the Trademarks Act. Section 43 of the act states that the Maritime and Commercial Court is the correct venue where the act is of significant importance to a case, as this court has expertise on IP right-related issues. Thus, according to Metro, the Maritime and Commercial Court had jurisdiction. Metro's three claims in the initial case were as follows:
- The Customs seizure had been rightfully conducted as the seized goods constituted a trademark violation;
- The goods were to be destroyed; and
- Blom was liable for payment of indemnities.
Among others things, Metro claimed that the analysis and determination of the level of compensation should be based upon a detailed insight into the Trademarks Act, and that IP expertise was essential for all parts of the case.
Blom alleged that the overriding principle in Danish law pursuant to Section 235 of the Administration of Justice Act is that legal action should be taken in the defendant's local jurisdiction.
Blom had no objection to Metro's first and second claims, but challenged the allegation that he had tried to import the goods, and that this question - being a question of evidence - did not involve the Trademarks Act. He further argued that the question of liability to pay indemnities and the measuring of the possible compensation, alone, was insufficient foundation for stating that the Trademarks Act was of "significant importance" to the case.
The Maritime and Commercial Court dismissed Blom's arguments on the grounds that the Trademarks Act was of significant importance to the proceedings. Although Blom had no objection to the first two claims, this did not change the fact that expertise in trademark matters was indispensable to determine the levels of compensation. The litigation regarding the compensation alone was therefore sufficient foundation for the legal action to be taken at the Maritime and Commercial Court.
Jeppe Brogaard Clausen, MAQS Law Firm, Copenhagen
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