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Article 5 (3) of the Brussels I Regulation and Its Applicability in the Case of Intellectual Property Rights Infringement on the Internet

Authors: Nataliya Hitsevich


Article 5(3) of the Brussels I Regulation provides that a person domiciled in a Member State may be sued in another Member State in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful events occurred or may occur. For a number of years Article 5 (3) of the Brussels I Regulation has been at the centre of the debate regarding the intellectual property rights infringement over the Internet. Nothing has been done to adapt the provisions relating to non-internet cases of infringement of intellectual property rights to the context of the Internet. The author’s findings indicate that in the case of intellectual property rights infringement on the Internet, the plaintiff has the option to sue either: the court of the Member State of the event giving rise to the damage: where the publisher of the newspaper is established; the court of the Member State where the damage occurred: where defamatory article is distributed. However, it must be admitted that whilst infringement over the Internet has some similarity to multi-State defamation by means of newspapers, the position is not entirely analogous due to the cross-border nature of the Internet. A simple example which may appropriately illustrate its contentious nature is a defamatory statement published on a website accessible in different Member States, and available in different languages. Therefore, we need to answer the question: how these traditional jurisdictional rules apply in the case of intellectual property rights infringement over the Internet? Should these traditional jurisdictional rules be modified?

Keywords: Intellectual property rights, infringement, Internet, jurisdiction.

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[54] Article 2 (1) of the Brussels I Regulation grants jurisdiction to the courts of member states in which defendants are domiciled. The concept of domicile in Article 2 (1) of the Brussels I Regulation (according to the rules of Articles 59 and 60) is quite wide and include three connecting factors: statutory seat, central administration, principal place of business.
[55] Also called content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution.
[56] From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia available at (accessed 31 July 2013).
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[58] Peer-to-peer file sharing is the distribution and sharing of digital documents and computer files using the technology of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia. Available at (accessed 31 July 2013).