Constantin Kletzer talked about Liability of Internet Intermediaries at the ECTA Annual Conference in Athens.

Constantin is a member of the Internet Committee of ECTA, the European Community Trademark Association. In this capacity he joined a panel on “Hot Topics in Anti-Counterfeiting, Goods in Transit and Contributory Infringement”. The session was moderated by Olivier Vrins, Altius, Belgium. His co-speaker Luigi Sansone, Salomone Sansone, Malta, talked about Goods in Transit in EU. Gie van den Broek, LXA, The Netherlands, gave an interesting presentation about Contributory Infringement highlighting economic and political issues of counterfeit imports into the EU.

Constantin focused on the electronic world: Organizations such as Google, Youtube, Facebook, Ebay, Amazon, Paypal that bring together or facilitate transactions between parties on the internet, are under a certain liability for acts of trademark of copyright infringement committed within their sphere. The Court of Justice of the European Union has developed a very complicated and rather casuistic court practice for holding such companies liable. In many cases this is the only remedy for a rightholder, because the actual providers of the infringing goods or services cannot be identified, are located in foreign countries or do not have sufficient funds to be held responsible for trademark or copyright infringement.

Constantin presented test schemes to verify in which cases those intermediaries can be held liable. One of the outcomes was that rightholders might tend to enforce their rights with the help of payment providers, who regularly know the identity of their “users” and might be liable to disclose the relevant data to a rightholder.

Photo: (c) Marius Schneider