injunctive relief and exhaustion of intellectual property rights on computer programs

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Are legal precautionary measures taken in civil claims for intellectual property? When intellectual property rights are exhausted Computer Programs?

El Tribunal Supremo ha abordado estas cuestiones en su Sentencia de 1 June 2016.

Ante la sospecha de que se estaban infringiendo sus IPR por la compañía Bittia Comunication S.L. (hereinafter Bittia), Microsoft, Autodesk y Adobe solicitaron la adopción de precautionary measures de carácter urgente. En aplicación del artículo 141 the TRLPI and 732.2 de la LEC se solicitaba ordenar las investigaciones oportunas con anterioridad a dar traslado del escrito de solicitud de medidas y la fijación de día y hora para practicar la diligencia de investigación en la sede de Bittia. For this, It requested a judicial commission, accompanied by a computer technician, con el fin de examinar los ordenadores de Bittia y comprobar la utilización de reproducciones no autorizadas de los programas de los demandantes.

The Commercial Court issued an order directing the commission, I appointing a court expert computer engineer to practice diligence and the issue of the expert report requested by the plaintiff.

Once practiced performances, el Juzgado Mercantil dictó auto ordenando el secuestro del material empleado para la reproducción, the kidnapping of unlicensed copies and suspension of the activity of reproduction of computer programs.

Within 20 days granted, Microsoft, Autodesk and Adobe filed suit against asking Bittia:

1.- La declaración de la titularidad de los programas de ordenador.
2.-La declaración de la violación de los derechos de propiedad intelectual de las demandantes.
3.- A indemnización por los daños y perjuicios causados de 67.166 euros.
4.- The cessation en las actividades ilícitas de reproducción y distribución no autorizadas y la destrucción de las copias halladas.
5.- A indemnización de 9.000 euros for moral damages.
6.- The publicación de la sentencia en un periódico nacional y una revista especializada en el sector de la construcción.
7.- La condena al pago de las costas del proceso.

La demandada se opuso, alegando que Adobe y Autodesk carecían de legitimación activa, prescription of shares, nulidad del auto que adoptó las medidas cautelares por vulnerar los derechos fundamentales, that their equipment was available license, that they should answer for what computers used in foreign ownership and that there had been no distribution of software.

The Commercial Court No.3 Gijon gave judgment on 30 November 2012, estimating demand substantially, declaring the ownership of the applicants for computer programs, the violation of intellectual property rights with consequent compensation for damages 67.166 euros, ordering the cessation of illegal activities and destruction of copies. With costs to the respondent. For the Court no se infringió el derecho a la inviolabilidad del domicilio, because the proceedings were carried out at the headquarters of the defendant, and el concepto de “cadena de custodia de pruebas” penal no se aplica en el ámbito civil. It is considered proven that provided programs to other group companies without obtaining the appropriate license.

Bittia interpuso recurso de apelación y la Audiencia Provincial de Oviedo dictó sentencia el 19 December 2013, esteeming, in relation declare not to bear the costs of the first instance, keeping the rest of pronouncements. Section considers that the alleged breach of the duty of care is not expressed by the Judicial Secretary (art. 296.1 LEC) in the first instance and therefore, It can not be rely on it the second. And that does not apply the "exhaustion doctrine".

Así que Bittia interpuso recurso extraordinario por infracción procesal y de casación ante el Tribunal Supremo.

The extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement was based on infringement of the jurisprudential doctrine that judgments given in prudential measures lack of effectiveness of res judicata with respect to the merits.
For the Board, the adoption of precautionary measures does not prejudge or determine the sentence, but the judgment of the Court has not violated this doctrine: He has prosecuted the right of the applicants assessing the arguments and evidence. The plea is dismissed.

As for the appeal, se alega que conforme a la doctrina establecida por la sentencia del TJUE de 3 July 2012, obtaining a license to use a computer program is equivalent to the first sale or transfer and involves the exhaustion of intellectual property rights of the owner of the computer program. Isastur company acquired the rights to use, so that the distribution right was exhausted and was entitled to give and transmit such programs Bittia. And in turn, this could be retransmitted to other companies in its business group the same software, so that there would be no violation.
Both the Commercial Court and the High Court, considered that in relation to Article 99 c) the TRLPI, exhaustion occurs when there is "sale or other title transfer of ownership" but not when it comes to a license.
However, CJEU for exhaustion occurs with any media and regardless of whether the contract is the sale or license. For the Board, the second paragraph of Article 99 c) TRLPI:

"Excludes the exhaustion of exploitation rights of the holder of the computer program the right to control the rental of the program or a copy thereof".

In the case prosecuted, Isastur rented copies of programs to Bitia. That rent is excluded from the depletion of exploitation rights and therefore, infringes the intellectual property rights of the applicants not having been authorized.

Moreover, the STJUE of 3 July 2012 exige que el adquirente que procede a la reventa de una copia de un programa de ordenador respecto del que se ha agotado el derecho de distribución debe inutilizar la copia descargada en su ordenador en el momento de revenderla. This requirement has not been met in this case.

In conclusion, although the restrictive interpretation of the first sale has not been correctly, for not conforming to the doctrine of the ECJ, no se cumplen los requisitos para considerar que los derechos de los programas de ordenador estaban agotados y se infringieron los derechos de propiedad intelectual the plaintiffs. The appeal is dismissed and the judgment of the Court is confirmed, with imposition of costs against the appellant.

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