In Rolf Anders Daniel Pihl v Sweden, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) agreed with Swedish authorities that a non-profit association was not liable for anonymous defamatory comments posted on its blog. The ECHR held that the Swedish authorities’ refusal to hold the owner of the blog liable for the anonymous defamatory online comment did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).
In Muwema v Facebook Ireland Ltd  IEHC 69, the Irish High Court refused to grant a Norwich Pharmacal order against Facebook, requiring disclosure of the identity and location of an anonymous third party operating a Facebook page containing defamatory content. The Court found that if Facebook disclosed such information it would endanger the life of the third party. The Court held that the right to a good name must give way to the right to life and bodily integrity in the event of a conflict.
EU consumers of online content services such as Netflix, Spotify or Sky Sports will soon be able to access their subscriptions while on holiday in or when otherwise visiting another Member State, due to the lifting of existing restrictions by a proposed new EU Regulation.
In an earlier blog, we outlined that the UK confirmed its intention to ratify the International Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. In December 2016, the UK government proceeded to sign the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court. The Protocol provides EU privileges and immunities to the judges of the Unified Patent Court necessary for the exercise of its functions. The Protocol is required in the individual countries hosting divisions of the court, one of which is in London. This positive step would suggest that the UK is moving closer towards ratification.
The UK has confirmed today that it intends to ratify the International Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, reportedly made the statement at a meeting of the EU Competitive Council.
There has been much commentary on the political and legal challenges the UK would face in joining the system post-Brexit. It does remain the possibility that the UK could join the system and then be ejected, something which is most likely to be determined post-Brexit.
The High Court in Muwema v Facebook Ireland Ltd  IEHC 519 held that Facebook had no duty to remove defamatory content posted by an anonymous third party. Justice Binchy did, however, make a Norwich Pharmacal order requiring Facebook to disclose the identity and location of the person operating the page involved.
On 28th July 2016, the Irish Court of Appeal, in Sony Music Entertainment (Ireland) Ltd. & Ors v UPC Communications Ireland Ltd.  IECA 231, confirmed that national courts have jurisdiction to grant graduated response system (GRS) injunctions against innocent intermediaries, such as ISPs, in response to alleged copyright infringement. This is the first GRS order of its kind made anywhere in the EU.
The Court held that Article 8(3) of the Information Society Directive (2001/29/EC) (the 2001 Directive), implemented in Ireland by section 40(5A) of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, provided the jurisdiction to grant such orders. Article 8(3) requires Member States to ensure that rightholders are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or related right.
In 2013, Mr Justice Gilligan refused an injunction sought by Galway Free Range Eggs Limited restraining Hillsbrook Eggs Limited from packaging or promoting their products under the name “O’Brien’s of Galway Free Range Eggs”. The Court held that it was not satisfied that the packaging used by the defendant was likely to deceive the public but did accept that there were issues to put forward to trial.
The substantive High Court hearing was held recently before Mr Justice Tony O’Connor and one of the bigger issues before the Court was the use of survey evidence and the weight to be attached to such opinion evidence. The Court was highly sceptical of the value of market opinions and related questionnaires and stated that in this specific case “the evidence offered on behalf of the plaintiff concerning brand confusion was tenuous and unreliable”.
Following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, the EU Trade Secrets Directive (2016/943)on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure will enter in to force on the 5 July 2016. Member States will have two years from this date to implement the provisions of the Directive into national law.
The High Court in the UK has again endorsed the use of predictive coding, ruling it as being the most appropriate and proportionate approach to disclosure despite disagreement between the parties surrounding its use. In a previous blog, we outlined how the UK High Court in the Pyrrho case ruled that predictive coding was appropriate to discharge a parties obligations regarding electronic disclosure.
In the most recent judgment, (yet to be published), the concept of using predictive coding in a disclosure exercise was strongly contested. Berwin Leighton Paisner acting for the respondent note that the petitioner’s solicitors wished to adopt a “traditional” approach to document review, where the inboxes of an agreed a list of custodians would be filtered using an agreed list of search terms, and the responsive documents would be subject to a manual review. It was put to the court that the costs of the traditional approach would be excessive, and that superior results could be achieved at a more proportionate cost using predictive coding.