2018:854 Apple Sales International and Others MJA

 

Court Court of Justice
Date of ruling 24 October 2018
Case name (short version) Apple Sales International and Others MJA
Case Citation ECLI:EU:C:2018:854

C-595/17

Key words Reference for a preliminary ruling — Area of freedom, security and justice — Jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters — Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 — Article 23 — Jurisdiction clause in a distribution contract — Action for damages by the distributor based on the infringement of Article 102 TFEU by the supplier
Basic context This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 23 of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 2001 L 12, p. 1).  The request has been made in the context of proceedings between Apple Sales International, Apple Inc. and Apple retail France EURL, and MJA, acting as liquidator of eBizcuss.com (‘eBizcuss’), concerning an action for damages brought by the latter company in respect of an infringement of Article 102 TFEU.
Points arising – admissibility
Points arising – substance Questions referred to the Court

(1)      Must Article 23 of Regulation No 44/2001 be interpreted as allowing a national court before which an action for damages has been brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU to apply a jurisdiction clause set out in the contract binding the parties?

(2)      If the first question is answered in the affirmative, must Article 23 of Regulation No 44/2001 be interpreted as allowing a national court before which an action for damages has been brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU to apply a jurisdiction clause within the contract binding the parties, including in cases where that clause does not expressly refer to disputes relating to liability incurred as a result of an infringement of competition law?

(3)      Must Article 23 of Regulation No 44/2001 be interpreted as allowing a national court before which an action for damages has been brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU to disregard a jurisdiction clause within the contract binding the parties where no infringement of competition law has been found to exist by a national or European authority?

30      In the light of all the foregoing, the answer to the first and second questions is that Article 23 of Regulation No 44/2001 must be interpreted as meaning that the application, in the context of an action for damages brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU, of a jurisdiction clause within the contract binding the parties is not excluded on the sole ground that that clause does not expressly refer to disputes relating to liability incurred as a result of an infringement of competition law.

 

36      In the light of the foregoing, the answer to the third question is that Article 23 of Regulation No 44/2001 must be interpreted as meaning that it is not a prerequisite for the application of a jurisdiction clause, in the context of an action for damages brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU, that there be a finding of an infringement of competition law by a national or European authority.

Intervention
Interim measures
Order 1.      Article 23 of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters must be interpreted as meaning that the application, in the context of an action for damages brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU, of a jurisdiction clause within the contract binding the parties is not excluded on the sole ground that that clause does not expressly refer to disputes relating to liability incurred as a result of an infringement of competition law.

2.      Article 23 of Regulation No 44/2001 must be interpreted as meaning that it is not a prerequisite for the application of a jurisdiction clause, in the context of an action for damages brought by a distributor against its supplier on the basis of Article 102 TFEU, that there be a finding of an infringement of competition law by a national or European authority.

Fine changed
Case duration 12 months
Judge-rapporteur Safjan
Advocate-general Wahl
Notes on academic writings

 

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