GPL issue at my work place

Arnoud Engelfriet arnoud at
Sat Jan 19 11:10:35 UTC 2008

Philippe Verdy wrote:
> It is not just informative for US lawyers: both Germany and US are signing
> parties to international treaties (now managed by WIPO). What a judge will
> decide in Germany about copyright status will also apply in US, because US
> has accepted to be bound by common rules.


First, court decisions are only legally binding in the jurisdiction 
they're issued. Second, Berne explicitly provides that copyright 
is *independent* in each jurisdiction. Berne art. 5(2). 
"The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any
formality; such enjoyment and such exercise shall be independent of the
existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. Consequently,
apart from the provisions of this Convention, the extent of protection, as
well as the means of redress afforded to the author to protect his rights,
shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where protection is

> However the German case must then be registered as a jurisprudence in some
> international court designated by WIPO. So these decisions will have to be

I'm sorry but *what* are you talking about? WIPO has a kind-of-court
for international trade disputes, but those TRIPS panels are not
competent to hear copyright infringement cases. They deal with things
like Antigua wishing to suspend its obligations under TRIPS because
the USA is unfairly interfering with Antigua's ability to conduct
gambling on the internet.

Where do I register jurisprudence?

> When such decisions are made against orgnisations so that the decision will
> apply to the whole organisation (including its various establishments in
> various countries), this creates a large precedent for claiming
> jurisprudence at least within the whole country, and most probably within
> all the European Union). If another organisation constests the scope of the

If you're referring to the spider-in-the-web: I'm sorry, it's dead. 
ECJ Primus v. Roche and ECJ GAT v. LuK.

> Note that justice decisions in any European court can be applied
> internationally within the EU: a German court can order things to have its
> decision applied against all establishments of the involved parties to the
> trial, and can then provide valid execution commissions to forces of police
> within all EU.

Sure. But that's *execution*. A company's assets in France can be
seized to pay the damages suffered by the plaintiff in Germany.

But a German court cannot order the French subsidiary of the defendant
to stop infringing a *French* copyright. It only has jurisdiction over
the *German* copyright.

That's all laid down in EC Regulation No 44/2001. If your French
copyright is infringed, you suffer damage in France and so you must
sue in France. Art. 5(3) Regulation.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
              Arnoud blogt nu ook:

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