Publicaties/noten - Publications/commentaires

IEFBE 1589

The Legal Aspects Of 3D Printing From A European Perspective

White paper ‘The Legal Aspects Of 3D Printing From A European Perspective’.
Bijdrage ingezonden door Willem Balfoort, Natascha van Duuren, Teun Pouw, De CLERCQ Advocaten Notarissen. This white paper discusses the extent to which current laws and regulations address legal issues raised in the wake of the rapid development in the area of 3D printing. The emphasis lies on the issues that arise from intellectual property law (IP), and more specifically copyright law, patent law, design rights law, and trademark law. In addition to these IP issues, this white paper also discusses the doctrine of product liability as it relates to 3D printing.
Lees verder

IEFBE 1561

In de tijdschriften/dans les revues 2015-10

Hieronder een selectie van de hoofdartikelen uit de vakbladen van deze maand. Voor de losse tijdschriftensites dient u apart in te loggen. Stuurt u ons de inhoudsopgave van een ontbrekend vakblad: (ook voor permanente levering door uitgevers).

AMI 2015-5 BIE 2015-10  
De tijdschriften zijn ook opgenomen in de database Praktijkgebied IE.

AMI 2015-5
Schadevergoeding bij online auteursrechtinbreuk: stand van zaken 2015
A.P. Engelfriet

De vele gedaantes van het vernieuwde artikel 45d
H.C. Klaassen

Nr. 7 • Rb. Amsterdam 10 juni 2015, Pictoright/Stadsarchief Gemeente Rotterdam m.nt. M.M.M. van Eechoud

Nr. 8 • Rb. Gelderland 10 juni 2015, Heksenkaas m.nt. M.R. de Zwaan
Rechtspraak in het kort

Berichten Industriële Eigendom
Auteursrecht op smaak? De grenzen van het auteursrechtelijk werkbegrip na het Kecofa/Lancôme-arrest - Tobias Cohen Jehoram

Over rasnamen en rasmerken - Paul van der Kooij

Nr. 46 Rechtbank Den Haag 15 juli 2015, Resolution/Shionogi c.s., IEF 15120, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:8197
(Europees octrooi; beschermingscertificaat; beschermingsomvang; equivalentie; afstand van een gedeelte van de bescherming waarop het octrooi aanspraak geeft (‘afstandsleer’))– met noot van R.M. Kleemans

Rechtspraak in het kort
Nr. 47 Vzr. Rechtbank Den Haag 22 april 2015, Matador/Bick en Little Jumbo Klimmaterieel, IEF 14898, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:8869 (octrooi betreffende een trekhaakslot; gerede kans octrooi niet inventief; geen inbreuk)

Nr. 48 Gerechtshof Amsterdam 30 april 2015, X B.V./de Inspecteur, IEF 15219 (douanewaarde; geen verplichting tot bijtelling van royalties als bedoeld in art. 32 lid 1 onder c CDW)

Nr. 49 Vzr. Rechtbank Den Haag 7 augustus 2015, FKP Sojuzplodoimport/Spirits, IEF 15170, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:9255 (onrechtmatig faciliteren van merkinbreuk)

Nr. 50 Gerecht EU 10 september 2015, T-525/13, H&M/BHIM en YSL, IEF 15238 (Gemeenschapsmodel; vrijheid van de ontwerper; eigen karakter)

Nr. 51 Vzr. Rechtbank Den Haag 6 augustus 2015, Oculus/I-Optics, IEF 15169 (vergelijkende reclame; spoedeisend belang, pan-Europees verbod; art. 6:194a BW)

Nr. 52 HvJ EU 16 juli 2015, C-580/13, Coty/Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg, IEF 15116, ECLI:EU:C:2015:243 (beroep op bankgeheim geen onbeperkt en onvoorwaardelijk verweer tegen plicht ex art. 1019f Rv)

IEFBE 1501

Community position trademarks - an increasingly difficult position

H.J. Koenraad, Community position trademarks - an increasingly difficult position, WTR august/september 2015, p. 98-101.Bijdrage ingezonden door Hidde Koenraad, Simmons & Simmons LLP. Eerder in WTR augustus/september 2015. While the EU Trademark Regulation is designed for the registration of “word marks, designs, letters, numerals, the shape of goods or of their packaging” as Community trademarks, it is well known that it leaves the class of objects of the trademark right unenumerated.

As jurisprudence around the regulation has grown, so has our understanding of the potential for other marks. These range from natural extensions of particular targets (eg, three-dimensional (3D) marks) to more exotic gustatory, olfactory and auditory marks. Somewhere in between the two extremes are position marks.

Although position marks are regularly accepted by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), once they reach the General Court or the European Court of Justice (ECJ) they tend to be refused. Most position marks do not meet the requirement that a sign depart significantly from the norm or customs of the sector.

While there are now scores of cases from the Boards of Appeal, as well as several judgments from the General Court and the ECJ, which provide further guidance as to how position marks should be treated, important questions remain unanswered. This article summarises repeatedly applied tests used to assess the validity of position marks, discusses the applicability to position marks of the absolute grounds for refusal for shape marks set out in Articles 7(1)(e) (i) to (iii) of the EU Community Trademark Regulation and takes a brief look into the future.

No specific category of mark
Article 4 of the regulation states: “A Community trade mark may consist of any signs capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, the shape of goods or of their packaging, provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.”

Neither the regulation nor its implementing regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) 2686/95) refers to position marks as a specific category of mark. However, the General Court has argued in various judgments that, insofar as Article 4 does not contain an exhaustive list of signs capable of being Community trademarks, that has no bearing on the registrability of position marks.

Position marks have been explicitly acknowledged in the OHIM Guidelines, Paragraph 2.2.14 of which states: “Applications for position marks effectively seek to protect a sign which consists of elements (figurative, colour, etc.) positioned on a particular part of a product and being in a particular proportion to the size of the product. The representation of the mark supplied must be accompanied by a description indicating the exact nature of the right concerned.”

According to the OHIM Guidelines, the factors to be taken into account when examining 3D marks are also relevant for position marks. It is stated that “in particular, the examiner must consider whether the relevant consumer will be able to identify a sign which is independent from the normal appearance of the products themselves”. The examiner should also consider whether the positioning of the mark upon the goods is likely to be understood “as having a trademark context”. The examiner should take into account that “in certain contexts, given the norms and customs of particular trades, a position mark may appeal to the eye as an independent feature being distinguishable from the product itself and thus communicating a trade mark message”.

Assessing validity – distinctive character
When looking at the case law from the ECJ and the General Court, position marks are generally found to be similar to the categories of both figurative and 3D marks, since they concern figurative or 3D elements that are applied to the surface of a product. However, it is argued that the classification of a positional mark as a figurative or 3D mark is irrelevant for the purpose of assessing its distinctive character (see, among others, X Technology v OHIM, General Court Case T‑547/08, June 15 2010 (orange on toe of sock [IEF 8912])).

In accordance with established EU case law, the distinctive character of a sign is assessed by reference to the goods or services in respect of which registration is sought and the perception that the relevant public has of those goods and services. As a general factual starting point included in many other ECJ decisions relating to shape-of-products marks, it is argued that the more closely the shape or other elements of the mark for which registration is sought resemble those elements most likely to be taken by the product in question, the greater the likelihood of the shape being devoid of any distinctive character for the purposes of Article 7(1)(b) of the Community Trademark Regulation. As a result, it is argued in various position mark decisions that, to the extent to which average consumers are not in the habit of making assumptions as to the commercial origin of goods on the basis of signs which are indistinguishable from the appearance of the goods themselves, such signs will be inherently distinctive only if they depart significantly from the norm or customs of the sector.

In this regard, the mere fact that a shape or appearance is a variant of a common shape of the type of product at hand is not sufficient to establish that the mark is not devoid of distinctive character. A simple departure is not enough; the departure must be significant (Henkel v OHIM, ECJ Case C-218/01, February 12 2004). Moreover, the novelty or originality of the shape is also irrelevant (Think Schuwerk GmbH v OHIM, Case T-208/12, General Court, July 11 2013).

(In)distinguishable from appearance? A matter of fact
The decisive factor governing the applicability of this test is not the classification of the sign as a figurative, 3D or other mark, but the fact that it is indistinguishable from the appearance of the product in question. This criterion has been applied before in ECJ case law – not only to 3D marks, but also to figurative marks consisting of a two-dimensional (2D) representation of the product in question and also to a sign consisting of a design applied to the surface of the product.
Likewise, colours and abstract combinations are not regarded by the ECJ as intrinsically distinctive, save in exceptional circumstances, since they are indistinguishable from the appearance of the goods designated and are not, in principle, used to identify commercial origin. In those circumstances, it is necessary to determine whether the mark applied for is indistinguishable from the appearance of the designated product or whether, on the contrary, it departs significantly from the norm and customs of the relevant sector.

In K-Swiss Inc v OHIM (General Court, Case T-85/13, June 13 2014, [IEF 13937]) the General Court considered that, in addition to the above-mentioned criterion, the sign at issue must be independent of the appearance of the product that it designates in order, in particular, not to be perceived by the relevant public as merely a decorative element. While referring to Glaverbel v OHIM (Case T‑36/01, October 9 2002 (surface of a plate of glass)), the General Court considered that in order to be afforded distinctive character, a design applied to the surface of a product must be capable of being apprehended without the product’s inherent qualities being perceived simultaneously, so that the design can be easily and instantly recalled by the relevant public as a distinctive sign.

Figure 1: The General Court found that K-Swiss had not proven that the five parallel stripe could be apprehended without the intrinsic characteristics of those shoes being simultaneously perceived

With regard to the application depicted in Figure 1, the General Court found that the applicant, K-Swiss, had not proven that the five parallel stripes, applied to the external surface of business or dress shoes, could be apprehended without the intrinsic characteristics of those shoes being simultaneously perceived. K-Swiss therefore failed to prove that those five stripes could be easily and instantly recalled by the relevant public as a distinctive sign.

Applicants have been keen to argue that their marks are distinguishable from the mere shape of the product in question or indeed mere decoration. While the ECJ has left it open that marks which go to the shape or decoration of a product could have inherent distinctiveness, aside from cases where acquired distinctiveness has been successfully established, this will rarely be the case.

The ECJ has been keen to point out in several cases that such limitations are not absolute rules of law, but rather matters of fact about the nature of consumers.

A good example of this important distinction is Think Schuhwerk GmbH v OHIM (ECJ, Case C-521/13 P, September 11 2014) which concerned red aglets on shoelaces. The General Court had found that the aglets were indissociable from the shoes and, as such, the mark was indistinguishable from the appearance of the product. Being indistinguishable, unless acquired distinctiveness could be established, it would be very difficult for the aglets to have any distinctiveness at all. The ECJ would not accept a plea that the assessment of indissociability was wrong, as this was a matter of fact not law. Think Schuhwerk could not make out its appeal and the mark was rejected.

Applicants should be extremely vigilant as to this distinction between facts and law: not only should it change the approach to the kind of evidence submitted to a fact-finding tribunal, but care should also be taken that any appeals on matters of law are actually matters of law.

Functional and decorative elements
In Rosenruist – Gestão e serviços Lda v OHIM (General Court, Case T-388/09, September 28 2010) the General Court found that whether a (position) mark may serve a decorative or ornamental purpose is irrelevant for the purposes of assessing its distinctive character.

At the same time, the court considered that it is always necessary for the sign in question – even if it may serve a decorative purpose and need not meet a specific level of creativity – to have a minimum degree of distinctive character. In this case, the application was rejected, the General Court considering it to be a simple, commonplace pattern with an exclusively decorative function, no aspect of which would enable the relevant public to identify the commercial origin of the goods described in the application or to distinguish them from others.

Another example of a sign found to be decorative is Landini Srl v OHIM (General Court, Case T-131/13, March 14 2014 [IEF 13644 F)]), concerning the application for a flower on a collar.

The General Court found that it is well known that a flower can adorn a buttonhole positioned on the collar of an item of clothing. According to the court, this circumstance weakened the capacity of the mark at issue to serve as an indication of the commercial origin of the products in question. The mark was rejected.

In its decision of January 16 2014 the General Court considered the famous ‘button in the ear’ motif of Steiff teddy bears (Margarete Steiff GmbH v OHIM, General Court, Case T-434/12, January 16 2014 [IEF 13433]). This mark was registered in Germany and, to those familiar with Steiff bears, it came as a surprise when the application was rejected by the General Court. The court determined that “[the marks] would rather be perceived by the relevant public as a possible presentation of immovable labels which can be found on many different places of stuffed animals or as an original form of ornamentation.

They will thus not be perceived by the relevant public as an indication of the commercial origin of the products”. The court continued that the fixing of the button to the ear “in fact created a banal combination, which will be seen by the public as a decorative element, even functional”.

The concept of functionality – and the likelihood that a functional feature will not be inherently distinctive – was also discussed in Lange Uhren GmbH v OHIM (General Court, Case T-152/07, September 14 2009 [IEF 8195]). In that case, the mark claimed was for circles and ellipses on a watch face.

The General Court held that the positioning of ordinary geometric shapes on the face of a watch would not appear at first sight to have a recognisable effect as an indication of commercial origin of the product in question, but on the contrary would be perceived as a functional element thereof. Further, it had not been established that the relevant public – even if it were made up of a public which was aware of luxury watches – would usually consider such geometrical shapes as an indication of the commercial origin of the product in question without associating it, simultaneously, with the name of the maker.

It is suggested that the General Court’s decision in this case would now be erroneous in light of Colloseum Holdings v Levi Strauss (ECJ, Case C-12/12, April 18 2013 [IEF 12574]). Just because a position mark functions alongside another mark does not mean that it necessarily has no independent use. Even so, this case should remind us that the more a feature is perceived as functional, the less likely it is to be inherently distinctive.

A final example of a position mark found to be decorative concerns the application depicted in Figure 3 for a yellow curve at the bottom edge of an electronic display unit. In the application, the sign was described as follows: “The positional mark is composed of a yellow curve, open at the upper edge, placed at the lower edge of an electronic display unit and extending the entire width of the unit. The dotted outline of the edges is purely to show that the curve is affixed to an electronic screen and does not form part of the mark itself.”

According to the General Court’s judgment in Sartorius Lab Instruments Gmbh v OHIM (General Court, Case T-331/12, February 26 2014 [IEF 13586]), this mark had no characteristic element or any memorable or eye-catching features likely to lend it a minimum degree of distinctiveness and enable the consumer to perceive it as anything other than a decoration typical of the goods in question.

Simple signs
Although one should obviously avoid filing extremely simple signs, OHIM Board of Appeal case law includes many examples of applications for position marks that were rejected for this reason. This generally includes signs which are found to contain nothing which may be considered eye-catching or memorable, or which have no characteristic features which can distinguish them from other identical or similar shapes, and thus are incapable of attracting the attention of the consumer. An example is the sign depicted in Figure 4, a figurative mark with a description of the mark which reads:
“The mark extends in longitudinal direction along the lines of the power tool.”

On several occasions it has been held that a sign made up of a basic geometric figure (eg, a circle, line, rectangle, pentagon or parallelogram) is incapable, in itself, of sending a message which consumers can remember, which means that they will not consider it to be a trademark, unless it has acquired distinctive character through use (Pentagon, General Court, Case T-304/05 [IEF 4897] and Parallélogramme, General Court, Case T-159/10, April 13 2011). Indeed, these types of figure are normally perceived as ornamental features, rather than as distinctive signs.

Figure 2: In Margarete Steiff GmbH v OHIM, the court continued that the fixing of the button to the ear of the Steiff teddy bear “created a banal combination, which will be seen by the public as a decorative element, even functional”

Assessing validity – absolute grounds for refusal of shape marks
While the classification as figurative or 3D is not relevant for the assessment of distinctive character, it may be relevant for the applicability of absolute grounds for refusal Figure 3: In Sartorius Lab Instruments Gmbh v OHIM the court found that the mark had no characteristic element or any memorable or eye-catching features likely to lend it a minimum degree of distinctiveness under Article 7(1)(e) of the Community Trademark Regulation. This article excludes protection in an absolute manner for signs if they consist exclusively of shapes which result from the nature of the goods, are necessary to obtain a technical result or give substantial value to the goods.

Article 7(1)(e) does not define the types of sign which must be considered as shapes within the meaning of that provision. It makes no distinction between 3D shapes, 2D shapes and 2D representations of 3D shapes. Hence, it is often held that the exclusions may also apply to trademarks reproducing shapes, regardless of the dimension in which they are represented. The applicability of this article is thus not confined to 3D shapes and may also include position marks.

Since most position marks are refused for not being sufficiently distinctive, there is little European case law in which a position mark has been tested under the grounds of exclusion for 3D marks. However, in its decision of April 1 2015 (Christian Louboutin v Van Haren Schoenen), the District Court of The Hague considered it necessary to refer a question to the ECJ about the applicability of Article 3(1)(e) of the EU Trademark Directive (2008/95/EC), the equivalent of Article 7(1)(e) of the Community Trademark Regulation. Before doing so, the district court first asked the parties involved to comment on their intention to approach the ECJ and on the question to be asked. The position mark at stake concerns Louboutin’s heavily litigated trademark for a red sole.According to the court, this trademark has aspects of both a colour mark and a 3D mark, since it consists of the colour properties of the sole of a shoe. Further, it considered that Louboutin had sufficiently proven that the mark had acquired distinctiveness through use, since a significant part of the relevant public in the Benelux (ie, consumers of high-heeled women’s shoes) could, at the time the infringement commenced in Autumn 2012, identify Louboutin’s shoes as originating from Louboutin and could thus distinguish those shoes from similar products of other undertakings.

However, the district court also ruled that, based on Louboutin’s own statements in previous proceedings in the United States and on a research report submitted by the defendant, the red sole gives substantial value to the goods in question. Subsequently, according to the district court, the question thus arises as to whether the word ‘shape’ in the sense of Article 3(1)(e) (iii) of the directive is limited to 3D characteristics of (parts of) the goods, such as contours, dimensions and volume; or whether this also includes other (non-3D) characteristics of the goods, such as colour.

Interestingly, the district court considered that if colour is not covered by this absolute ground for refusal, the trademark right would enable the proprietor to prevent competitors indefinitely from using characteristics on their products which are sought and valued by the public, such as the red sole of a pump. According to the district court, this seems contrary to the rationale behind this ground for refusal. Likewise, the court considered that a trademark right could prevent a competitor from marketing reflective safety clothing or soft drinks in reflective, and thus insulating, packaging where this constituted a technical solution. We will have to wait and see whether this interesting question makes it to the ECJ.

Conclusion and future position
After reviewing many of the decisions rendered by the ECJ, the General Court and OHIM over the last 10 years, it is fair to conclude that position marks rarely meet the threshold of sufficient inherent distinctiveness. Although position marks are regularly accepted by OHIM, once they reach the General Court or the ECJ they tend to be refused. Most position marks do not meet the requirement that the sign depart significantly from the norm or customs of the sector. Lack of distinctiveness can be overcome by showing acquired distinctive character through use. However, the very high standard set by the ECJ to prove distinctiveness through use makes this quite difficult. Although position marks can be protected in theory, it is very difficult to obtain such protection in practice and to enforce position marks against a determined competitor effectively.
On top of that, the Presidency Compromise Proposals on the Community Trademark Regulation and the Trademark Directive published in May 2014 propose extending the absolute grounds for refusal of shape marks as included in Articles 7(1)(e) (i) to (iii) of the regulation and Articles 3(1)(e) (i) to (iii) of the directive, by adding the wording ‘or other characteristics’, as follows:

1. The following shall not be registered:
(e) signs which consist exclusively of:
(i) the shape or other characteristics which result from the nature of the goods themselves;
(ii) the shape or other characteristics of goods which are necessary to obtain a technical result;
(iii) the shape or other characteristics of goods which gives substantial value to the goods.
Clearly, it is not to be expected that life will become easier for applicants of position marks (and shape marks) if these legislative proposals are enacted. But even if they are not, based on the ECJ’s decision in Hauck GmbH v Stokke A/S (Case C-205/13, September 18 2014 (children’s chair) [IEF 14209]), applicants will most likely continue to face significant hurdles in registering position marks (even when such shapes have acquired distinctive character through use).

In the end, the lesson to be learned from the various negative decisions on position marks is that the European authorities have generally been reticent about affording perpetual protection to signs which, in many cases, are designs rather than trademarks. The good news is that – albeit for a limited period – in these cases it will often be possible to obtain design right protection, provided that this is applied for before public disclosure (or at least within the grace period).
Figure 4: The description of this figurative mark read: “The mark extends in longitudinal direction along the lines of the power tool”

Hidde J Koenraad is a partner at Simmons & Simmons LLP

IEFBE 1489

Le juge peut-il forcer un artiste à réaliser une œuvre promise?

Contribution envoyée par Brigitte Spiegeler et Alexis Dana, Spiegeler Advocaten. Le 24 juin dernier, la Cour de Rotterdam (Pays-Bas) a rendu un jugement remarqué en matière artistique [IEF 14120]. Bert Kreuk, un collectionneur d’art néerlandais, poursuivait l’artiste conceptuel de double nationalité danoise et vietnamienne Danh Vo, lui reprochant de ne pas lui avoir livré d’œuvre pour l’exposition “Transforming the known” qu’il organisait au musée municipal de la Haye (Gemeentemuseum). Kreuk réclamait à l’artiste la somme de 898.000 €.

Si le juge a donné raison au collectionneur d’art, il n’a pas pour autant condamné Vo au paiement d’une telle somme mais l’a enjoint de remplir son contrat, c’est-à-dire “créer une œuvre qui, au premier regard, notamment du fait de sa taille, doit impressionner celui qui la regarde.”

Les représentants de Vo niaient, en l’absence d’écrit, l’existence d’un contrat. Le juge a estimé qu’il y avait suffisamment de preuves de l’existence d’un accord entre le collectionneur d’art et l’artiste pour que ce dernier soit obligé.

Son père ayant eu un accident cérébral peu de temps avant l’exposition, Vo avait prévenu Kreuk qu’il n’était pas certain d’être en mesure d’assurer l’exposition à la Haye.

Kreuk avait répondu qu’il comprenait que l’artiste ne soit pas en mesure de créer quelque chose de spécial mais qu’il ne souhaitait pas rester les mains vides.

Vo avait finalement envoyé une petite œuvre à Kreuk, accompagnée d’une offre de contrat de prêt pour la pièce. Or, Kreuk réclamait une œuvre inédite qu’il pourrait acquérir suite à l’exposition.

Estimant la faute de Vo caractérisée, le juge a appliqué l’article 7:407 du Code civil néerlandais selon lequel :

“Lorsque deux personnes sont engagées, chacune d’elle l’est vis à vis de l’autre de façon illimitée lorsqu’elle défaille dans la réalisation de sa mission, à moins que cette défaillance ne soit pas de son fait.”

L’application de ce texte a conduit à la condamnation de Vo à créer pour le musée municipal de la Haye une ou deux œuvres remplissant une pièce et les délivrer sous peine de payer une astreinte de 10.000 € par jour de retard, limitée à 350.000 €.

Une telle situation serait-elle envisageable en droit français ?

L’article 1142 du Code civil français prévoit que :

« Toute obligation de faire ou de ne pas faire se résout en dommages et intérêts en cas d’inexécution de la part du débiteur. »

Toutefois, les juges nuancent ce principe avec les dispositions selon lesquelles d’une part, « les conventions légalement formées tiennent lieu de loi à ceux qui les ont faites » (Article 1134 du Code civil), d’autre part, « le créancier ne peut être contraint de recevoir autre chose que celle qui lui est due, quoique la valeur de la chose offerte soit égale ou même plus grande » (Article 1243 du Code civil).

En conséquence, contrairement à ce que prévoit l’article 1142 du Code civil, les magistrats français vont privilégier l’exécution en nature de l’obligation.

Cela laisse penser que les magistrats français pourraient forcer un artiste, notamment par le biais d’une astreinte, à réaliser l’œuvre qu’il a promise à un collectionneur d’art.

Or, tel n’est pas le cas.

Il est généralement admis que les obligations en matière littéraire et artistique bénéficient d’une régime de faveur et donc de l’application littérale de l’article 1142 du Code civil. Le caractère personnel de l’obligation souscrite exclut en cette matière toute exécution forcée.

L’artiste qui s’est engagé à réaliser une œuvre artistique ne peut être contraint, même par le biais de l’astreinte, à achever son œuvre ou même à la livrer, une fois achevée, son droit moral le rendant seul et discrétionnairement maitre de la divulgation.

Le projet d’ordonnance de réforme du droit français des obligations élaboré par la chancellerie prévoit que « le créancier d’une obligation peut, après mise en demeure, en poursuivre l’exécution en nature, sauf si cette exécution est impossible ou si son cout est manifestement déraisonnable » (Article 1222). Se pose donc la question de la future interprétation par les magistrats de « l’impossibilité d’exécution » dans le domaine artistique.

Mais il semble peu probable qu’une révolution soit à attendre dans ce domaine ; le recours à l’astreinte ne garantit pas que l’œuvre promise sera correctement réalisée et qu’elle aura toutes les qualités attendues par son commanditaire.

Il est intéressant de noter que dans la bataille médiatique publique ayant suivi le jugement rendu le 24 juin, Danh Vo et son avocat ont estimé qu’en étant forcé, l’artiste avait vu sa liberté artistique restreinte. Il lui était difficile de produire une œuvre sur injonction.

Le Code Civil hollandais (« Burgerlijk Wetboek ») prévoit, en son article 3:296, que la nature de l’obligation envisagée peut empêcher l’obligation de son exécution par voie judiciaire.

Les travaux préparatoires de cet article mentionnent l’exemple d’un auteur qui, s’étant obligé vis-à-vis de son éditeur, ne délivre pas l’œuvre promise. L’éditeur ne peut obtenir l’exécution forcée de l’œuvre ; il ne peut qu’espérer obtenir des dommages et intérêts.

Or, dans l’arrêt rendu le 24 juin, il n’est aucunement fait mention de l’essence de l’obligation. Le juge a décidé que l’artiste devait délivrer une « œuvre remarquable », appréciation éminemment subjective n’appartenant qu’à celui qui contemple l’œuvre.

En juillet 2015, Vo, qui va se pourvoir en appel, a proposé de répondre à sa condamnation par le production d’une œuvre murale géante avec pour texte : “SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS, YOU FAGGOT” []

Brigitte Spiegeler et Alexis Dana

IEFBE 1483

Ceysens en Wilrycx willen panoramavrijheid van foto's van openbare gebouwen en kunstwerken

Een bijdrage van Thomas Leys, Open Vld. Een kiekje nemen voor het Atomium in Brussel of de Totem van Fabre op het Leuvense Ladeuzeplein? In principe moet je toestemming vragen of auteursrechten betalen voor de reproductie van deze bouw- of kunstwerken in het openbaar domein. Open Vld Kamerleden Patricia Ceysens en Frank Wilrycx hebben een wetsvoorstel klaar dat hieraan verhelpt door het panoramarecht te erkennen in ons auteursrecht.

Lees hier: vaakgestelde vragen.

In dit digitaal tijdperk van sociale media en smartphones maakt iedereen wel eens een leuke foto of selfie. “Onschuldig in de meeste gevallen, maar een foto kan een reproductie zijn van een auteursrechtelijk beschermd werk, zoals een gebouw of kunstwerk. In principe moet je hiervoor steeds de toestemming van de maker vragen, of auteursrechten betalen”, legt Patricia Ceysens uit.
Deze regelgeving leidt echter tot een bijzondere situatie bij foto’s gemaakt in het straatbeeld. “Volgens de regel mag je ook geen foto’s nemen van architecturale parels of kunstwerken die zich in de openbare ruimte bevinden. Concreet: voor een foto van de Totem op het Ladeuzeplein moet je eerst de toestemming vragen van Jan Fabre. En een foto van het Atomium bijvoorbeeld mag in principe niet tot 2075, wanneer de ontwerper Waterkeyn 70 jaar zal overleden zijn. Zo kreeg in 2005 een restaurantuitbater een factuur van 400 euro van Sabam”, aldus Frank Wilrycx. Ook alle gebouwen van Victor Horta, waaronder het Centraal Station in Brussel, kunnen pas vanaf 2017 worden gefotografeerd, namelijk 70 jaar na het overlijden van de architect.
Dat is een brug te ver voor de liberale Kamerleden van de commissie Bedrijfsleven: “De vrijheid van het individu om foto’s te nemen in de publieke ruimte moet volgens ons primeren op de auteursrechtelijke bescherming van kunstwerken en gebouwen op dat openbare domein. Dat is de logica zelve, te meer omdat de kunstwerken doorgaans met publieke middelen werden aangekocht en het de bedoeling is dat zij daar permanent blijven. Daarom willen wij met ons wetsvoorstel het zogenaamde ‘panoramarecht’ in ons wetboek en auteursrecht opnemen.”
Wat mag er concreet volgens het wetsvoorstel en wat niet? Je mag naar hartenlust foto’s mogen nemen van gebouwen en kunstwerken in de publieke ruimte. Je mag ze bijvoorbeeld ook delen op sociale media, publiceren in een boek of op websites.  Het moet gaan om een reproductie van het werk zoals het zich daar bevindt in de natuurlijke omgeving. Een modeltekening van het Atomium gebruiken, kan dus bijvoorbeeld niet. Het moet gaan om werken die permanent in het openbaar domein aanwezig zijn. Een kunstwerk in een museum of bij een tijdelijke tentoonstelling blijft echter beschermd door het auteursrecht.
Het panoramarecht bestaat in alle Europese lidstaten, met uitzondering van België, Frankrijk, Italië, Griekenland en Luxemburg. Bovendien nam het Europees parlement onlangs een rapport aan waarin het panoramarecht expliciet werd erkend. Bedoeling is om op termijn te evolueren naar een Europees auteursrecht. Daar zijn Ceysens en Wilrycx voorstanders van: “In een eengemaakte markt als Europa is het een groot voordeel als over eigendomsrechten gelijklopende of gelijke regels gelden. Dat is in het belang van auteurs, de burgers, de individuele lidstaten en in het bijzonder de Europese economie.”
IEFBE 1482

IViR-Study: Renumeration of authors and performers for the use of works and fixations of performances

L. Guibault , O.M. Salamanca , S.J. van Gompel, Remuneration of authors and performers for the use of their works and the fixations of their performances, IViR, carried out for the European Commission.
This study analyses the current situation regarding the level of remuneration paid to authors and performers in the music and audio-visual sectors. We compare, from both a legal and economic perspective, the existing national systems of remuneration for authors and performers and identify the relative advantages and disadvantages of those systems for them. We also explore the need to harmonise mechanisms affecting the remuneration of authors and performers, and to identify which ones are the best suited to achieve this. Their potential impact on distribution models and on the functioning of the Internal Market is also examined. Finally, the study outlines a series of policy recommendations based on the analysis conducted.

(...) Executive Summary
Europe Economics and the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam were commissioned by DG Internal Market to undertake a study of the remuneration of authors and performers (or the “creators”) for the use of their works and the fixations of their performances.

The overarching objectives of this study are to analyse the current situation regarding the level of remuneration paid to authors and performers in the music and audiovisual (AV) sectors in order to compare the existing national systems of remuneration for authors and performers and identify the relative advantages and disadvantages of those systems for them. We also aim to assess the need to harmonise mechanisms affecting the remuneration of authors and performers, and to identify which ones are the best suited to achieve this. Their potential impact on distribution models and on the functioning of the Internal Market is also examined.
In doing this we focus specifically on:
 Music:
 Authors — lyricists, composers, songwriters (lyricist and composer).
 Performers — featured artists, session musicians.
 AV:
 Authors — principal directors, screenwriters, composers of music for film or television.
 Performers — TV actors, film actors.

The current legal framework
To conduct our legal analysis, we approached correspondents, a mix of scholars and practising lawyers, in each of the ten countries under study.1  These countries were chosen to reflect differences in regulatory approaches and existing regional idiosyncrasies. The questionnaire we prepared for our correspondents focused on legal framework of each country from both a contract law (lex generalis) and copyright law (lex specialis) perspective. It also focused on the actual contractual practice in their country and whether this practice was aligned or not with the law. Further, the law and contractual practice in the United States was also examined, for the purpose of acomparative analysis.

Copyright and related rights have been fairly well harmonised in European law. All ten Member States considered in this study grant authors an exclusive, transferable right of reproduction, a right of communication to the public, including the right of making available, and a distribution right in conformity with the Information Society Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC). Some differences can be observed in the national implementation of the EU acquis, particularly with respect to the existence or the exercise of the rights conferred on authors and performers under the Rental and Lending Rights Directive (Directive 2006/115/EC), the Satellite and Cable Directive (Directive 1993/83/EEC), as well as with respect to certain performers’ rights under the Information Society Directive. Variations in legislation have occurred primarily as a result of the options left in the acquis for the implementation of European norms by the Member States but some differences are the result of conscious decisions on the part of the national legislator to go beyond the minimum harmonisation in the acquis. Further, we provided some insight into the nature and implications of exclusive rights versus the so-called remuneration rights. In addition to these differences in implementation, we also analysed the different interpretations given in the Member States to particular uses (e.g. webcasting) that may fall in a different category of rights, or cover more than a single right, depending on the Member State.

On the basis of the answers provided by the correspondents in the ten jurisdictions, it appears that the general provisions of contract law play a very limited role in granting support to authors and performers in the negotiation of exploitation agreements and the determination of the level of remuneration. General contract law may affect the way a contract is interpreted or executed, but in general it does not influence the outcome of the negotiation on the transfer of rights or on the remuneration to be paid. But because authors and performers are traditionally seen as the weaker party to contractual negotiations, some Member States, like France, Germany and Spain have implemented in their copyright legislation a number of imperative rules on the formation, execution and interpretation of authors’ and performers’ contracts. Between these solutions and contractual freedom many variations exist in the laws of the Member States.

Furthermore, authors and performers often organise themselves into unions (wherever permitted) or freelance associations. Many of these unions and associations negotiate model exploitation contracts with representatives of the industry. Nevertheless, trade unions and associations of authors and performers have not been set up in all Member States. Where they have, the type and the extent of collective action vary, both as regards the unions’ and associations’ role in the negotiation and in the enforcement of contracts.

Collective rights management organisations (CRMOs) also play a role in establishing the level of remuneration received by authors and performers, although the importance of this role differs by right holder, sector and Member State. Contrary to other exploiters, CRMOs are often not bound by the general or specific rules on authors’ and performers’ contracts found in the legislation of a number of Member States, on the ground that CRMOs are deemed to operate in the interest of their members, e.g. authors, performers or other rights owners.

Even though several mechanisms offered by contract or copyright law provide support to authors and performers, some show a more direct impact on the level of remuneration paid to authors and performers than others. The principal legal elements we have identified in this respect are:
 the structure of the rights conferred by the law (i.e. the ownership and the nature of the rights – exclusive or remuneration rights);
 the existence of statutory provisions to protect authors and performers as weaker parties to a contract; and
 the use of collective bargaining and role of trade unions and associations

Key findings
The key findings of our analysis are:
 Transparency — there is a lack of transparency of the remuneration arrangements in the contracts of authors and performers in relation to the rights transferred. The payment flows in the music industry are particularly complex. Moreover, the differences in the national implementation of the cable retransmission right, the right of making available and the rental right pose noticeable cross-border transparency problems. The absence of information on which to base an estimate of likely earnings in different Member States undermines the ability of authors and performers to effectively exercise their freedom of movement across jurisdictions (non-tariff trade barrier) and has an adverse effect on the functioning of the Internal Market.
 Scope of transfer — certain groups of authors and performers, such as those new to the industry, are in a weaker bargaining position than others. Problems however arise if they get locked into long contracts with relatively unfavourable terms, in particular if they become successful. This issue is also pertinent with respect to the development of new modes of exploitation. To alleviate this problem, the laws of a number of Member States, in different ways, expressly regulate the transfer of rights relating to forms of exploitation that are unknown or unforeseeable at the time the copyright contract was concluded, as well as the transfer of rights relating to future works and performances.
 Role of trade unions and freelance associations — in some Member States collective action by trade unions and associations (and CRMOs that that fulfil similar functions) play an important role, especially for authors and performers in the audio-visual sector. Besides providing support at the time of negotiating remuneration agreements (including both direct support and the assistance provided through the union’s involvement in preparing and promoting model contracts), unions and associations can also be effective at the moment of enforcing agreements. Nevertheless, unions and associations of authors and performers have not been set up in all Member States or, where they have, for all categories of authors and performers.

Policy recommendations: (...)
 Policy 1: Specify remuneration for individual modes of exploitation in the contracts of authors and performers.
 Policy 2: Improve the cross-border transparency of the national systems.
 Policy 3: Limit the scope for transferring rights for future works and performances and future modes of exploitation.
 Policy 4: Create a more conducive environment to support the role of trade unions, freelance associations and CRMOs when they fulfil similar functions.
 Policy 5: Facilitate the exercise of the right of making available. This policy option effectively represents a fall-back in the event that the other policies fail to protect authors and performers sufficiently and is broken down into three possibilities:
 Voluntary collective management of the right of making available.
 Unwaivable right to obtain equitable remuneration from the producer/publisher.
 Unwaivable right to equitable remuneration administered by a CRMO.

A full impact assessment should be conducted on any policies considered to properly assess the costs and benefits of different options and the potential for unintended consequences that may distort the market. Based on our initial high-level review we recommend the following policies should be considered in more detail:
 Harmonised requirement for the specification of remuneration for individual modes of exploitation in the contracts of authors and performers — policy option one relating to the provision of written contracts with remuneration for individual rights broken down by mode of exploitation.
 Improve the cross-border transparency of the national systems — policy option two relating to the ability of authors and performers to understand whether or not they are likely to be better off by working in a different country.
 Harmonised limits on the scope for transferring rights for future works and performances and future modes of exploitation — policy option three relating to the ability of authors and performers to limit the scope of any rights transfer so as to prevent them being locked into less beneficial contracts for long periods.
With respect to options four and five we recommend conducting more detailed research to understand more fully the impact these options would have on the remuneration of authors and performers. In each case it is important to consider the relevance of any policy proposal for the different types of authors and performers and the different industries. Furthermore, consideration must be given to countries where similar practices are already in place so that the design of the policy does not entail unnecessary and potentially costly changes.

The information and views set out in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this report. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This study was carried out for the European Commission by Europe Economics and Lucie Guibault, Olivia Salamanca and Stef van Gompel of the University of Amsterdam (IViR).  ISBN 9789279471629
DOI: 10.2759/834167

See also:

IEFBE 1421

Naamgevingsrechten en hun toepassing bij sponsoring

Joost VYNCKIER, “Naamgevingsrechten en hun toepassing bij sponsoring”, NjW 2015, afl. 325, 474-489.
Samenvatting via LegalWorld: In de praktijk zien we dat naast subjecten ook goederen en diensten een naam kunnen dragen (bijv. Empire State Building of Tomorrowland). In het eerste deel van de bijdrage wordt onderzocht

  • of er in het Belgische recht een ‘bevoegdheid tot benoemen’ met betrekking tot zowel goederen, diensten als subjecten bestaat;
  • wat de juridische grondslag hiervan is;
  • wie als titularis deze bevoegdheid ab initio kan uitoefenen;
  • en welke uitzondering er gelden op de principiële benoemingsvrijheid.

In een tweede deel komen de perspectieven die deze benoemingsbevoegdheid in sponsoringscontext kan bieden, aan bod.

Initiële benoemingsbevoegdheid
Vooreerst levert de dagdagelijkse praktijk het bewijs dat een benoemingsbevoegdheid op goederen, diensten en subjecten wel degelijk bestaat. Het bestaan van dergelijke bevoegdheid vindt eveneens bevestiging in diverse naambeschermingsregimes zoals het merkenrecht, het persoonlijkheidsrecht op naam en de handelsnaam. Bij de benoeming van subjecten blijkt het bestaan van zo’n bevoegdheid ook nog uit diverse wettelijke bepalingen inzake naamgeving en -wijziging.

De juridische grondslag waarop die benoemingsbevoegdheid steunt verschilt naar gelang het respectievelijke benoemingsobject. Waar de bevoegdheid tot benoemen bij goederen uit de gebruiks- en genotsbevoegdheden en bij diensten uit de aan de dienstverstrekker toekomende beslissingsbevoegdheid voortvloeit, is de benoemingsbevoegdheid met betrekking tot subjecten gegrond in het persoonlijkheidsrecht op zelfbeschikking. Vanzelfsprekend is de grondslag ook bepalend voor het aanwijzen van de initieel benoemingsbevoegde titularis. In de regel zijn dan ook de gebruiker van een goed, de dienstverstrekker of het aan benoeming onderhevige subject ab initio benoemingsbevoegd.

Bij het uitoefenen van zijn benoemingsbevoegdheid moet de titularis eveneens oog hebben voor de rechten die derden op een welbepaalde naam kunnen doen gelden (op basis van zijn naamrecht, handelsnaam, uithangbord, gebruiks- en genotsbevoegdheden, intellectuele eigendomsrechten of de eerlijke handelsgebruiken). Ook de wetgever kan daarnaast de in principe vrije naamkeuze aan banden leggen (bijv. art. 1 en 3 Namenwet).

Het naamgevingsrecht als sponsoringsinstrument
De kern van een sponsoringstransactie ligt in de door de sponsor beoogde associatie met het sponsoringsobject. Het aan de sponsor verleende persoonlijke, exclusieve en aan huur verwante recht om de goederen, diensten of persoon van de gesponsorde te benoemen (i.e. naamgevings- of benoemingsrecht) blijkt in dit kader dan ook een bijzonder nuttig associatie-instrument. Kent de sponsoringsovereenkomst dergelijk recht aan de sponsor toe, dan is sprake van naam- of titelsponsoring.

Wil de sponsor zich met de goederen, diensten of persoon van de gesponsorde associëren, dan kan hij het respectievelijke sponsoringsobject met een naar hem (of zijn producten) verwijzende naam benoemen. Zo’n naamsponsoringstransactie krijgt juridisch vorm via een door de gesponsorde – als initieel benoemingsbevoegde titularis – aan de sponsor toegekend naamgevingsrecht.

IEFBE 1420

De aansprakelijkheid van bookingsites voor onrechtmatige reviews

Sofie DE POURCQ, "De aansprakelijkheid van bookingsites voor onrechtmatige reviews", TPR 2014, afl. 3, 1157-1206.
Samenvatting via LegalWorld. Wie een hotel wil boeken, baseert zich vaak op de mening van andere reizigers. Die meningen zijn zowel terug te vinden op bookingsites als op specifieke websites die louter dienen om reviews over verschillende hotels te verzamelen (hierna verwijst de term 'bookingsite' naar beide soorten websites). Dankzij die reviews is het voor de reizigers niet alleen eenvoudiger om een hotelkeuze te maken, maar worden ze ook enigszins beschermd tegen mogelijke negatieve ervaringen.

Soms verschijnen er echter onrechtmatige reviews op dergelijke websites. In dat geval bestaat de kans dat de uitbater van het beoordeelde hotel de uitbater van de bookingsite daarvoor aansprakelijk wil stellen. In deze bijdrage wordt besproken of de uitbaters van bookingsites in die hypothese de aansprakelijkheidsvrijstelling van de Richtlijn Elektronische Handel kunnen genieten. Om het antwoord op deze vraag te formuleren werd een rechtsvergelijkende studie van het Belgische, Nederlandse, Franse en Duitse recht uitgevoerd.

Kwalificatie als hostprovider?
De Richtlijn Elektronische Handel creëert onder meer een aansprakelijkheidsvrijstelling voor hostproviders. Aangezien de definitie van het begrip 'hostprovider' ruim en evolutief wordt geïnterpreteerd, lijken uitbaters van bookingsites als hostprovider te kunnen worden gekwalificeerd. Zowel het Hof van Justitie als het Belgische Hof van Cassatie hebben echter benadrukt dat een hostprovider een passieve rol moet vervullen en dus geen kennis of controle mag hebben over de informatie die wordt opgeslagen. Deze bijkomende vereiste creëert mogelijk problemen voor uitbaters van bookingsites die een controle uitvoeren van de reviews. Het is namelijk onduidelijk of die uitbaters nog een passieve rol vervullen en bijgevolg als hostprovider kunnen worden beschouwd. Dit leidt tot rechtsonzekerheid.

Voorwaarden aansprakelijkheidsvrijstelling en mogelijke rechterlijke maatregelen
De aansprakelijkheidsvrijstelling is onderworpen aan enkele voorwaarden. Bij de invulling en de toepassing van die voorwaarden kunnen echter moeilijkheden ontstaan. Daarnaast kan de rechter aan een hostprovider die de aansprakelijkheidsvrijstelling geniet, maatregelen opleggen om toekomstige inbreuken te voorkomen. Het is echter niet volledig duidelijk welke maatregelen toegestaan zijn. De maatregelen mogen immers enkel tot een specifieke en niet tot een algemene toezichtsverplichting leiden. De Richtlijn Elektronische Handel definieert die begrippen evenwel niet.

Het was de doelstelling van de Richtlijn Elektronische Handel om bij de tussenpersonen die in het internetverkeer optreden de rechtsonzekerheid over hun eventuele aansprakelijkheid voor onrechtmatige inhoud die afkomstig is van internetgebruikers, weg te nemen. We stellen echter vast dat er nog steeds rechtsonzekerheid bestaat. De Richtlijn Elektronische Handel verdient dan ook een negatieve beoordeling.

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