As the proposed “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market” suffers a halt with the European Parliament declining to vote and rescheduling approval for September 2018, one of the main stumbling blocks is the likely ‘invasive’ nature Art. 13 requiring Internet Service Providers to pre-emptively scan, filter and block copyright-infringing contents which many in the industry consider too onerous.  A recent ruling by the Court of Milan, once again, had to tackle the tricky and difficult issue of the extent the ISP’s liability, determining the scope of the injunction against ISP. In particular, the Court of Milan ruled on the admissibility of a Preliminary Injunction order issued against network access providers that extends not only to the domain name whose content has been found to be illegal, but also to all the different domains that provide the same content to the public (the so-called “alias” sites). The IP Milan Chamber found that such a ruling is compatible with the general prohibition according to which ISPs do not have a surveillance obligation, challenged at the EU level, and at the same time complies with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness of PI measures.

Following the PI proceedings brought by Arnoldo Mondadori S.p.A., the Court of Milan, on 12 April 2018, ordered Fastweb S.p.A., Telecom Italia S.p.A., Tiscali Italia S.p.A., Vodafone Italia S.p.A. and Wind Tre S.p.A., in their role as network access providers,  to pay the costs for the implementation of the most appropriate technical measures that prevent users from accessing a portal that provided complete versions of Mondadori’s publications, either through the domain name “” – the content of which was deemed unlawful – or through the “alias” sites, accessible through any domain name.

The case stemmed from an initial PI appeal brought by Mondadori against the same network access providers, as well as the hosting company, to obtain an order preventing access to the “Dasolo” portal by the recipients of the services, regardless of the top level domain adopted (“.it”, “.org”, “.net”). “Dasolo” illegally catalogued and provided the users with full versions of numerous magazines published by Mondadori (among many, “Chi”, “Cucina Moderna”, “Donna Moderna”, “Grazia”, “Panorama”, “Sale & Pepe”).

After having examined and distinguished the different liability profiles of the providers that perform data transport functions (the so-called “mere conduits”) and of those that store contents (the so-called “hosting” activity), the Judge for the first PI proceedings ordered the service providers to disable access “to all the sites with second-level domain name ‘dasolo’ regardless of the top level domain adopted” (“a tutti i siti con nome di dominio di secondo livello ‘dasolo’ indipendentemente dal top level domain adottato”, Milan Court, ord. 24 July 2017).

However, this measure did not prove to be sufficiently effective, since in a short time the “Dasolo” portal had become operational again by changing its second-level domain to “Italiashare”, while continuing to publish the same illegal content.

Therefore, Mondadori requested out-of-court that the network access providers adopt all the technical measures necessary to also disable this new domain. The providers refused on the grounds that a specific judicial or administrative measure would be necessary to extend the injunction to the different second-level domain “Italiashare”. Hence Mondadori’s new PI motion was aimed at obtaining a more far-reaching injunction, which could be extended to all different second-level domains that provide the same illegal content to the public (the so-called “alias” sites).

This is the framework for the recent order which is examined here. In fact, the Milan Court clarified that such an order is compatible with the fact that ISPs do not have a preventive surveillance obligation, since they are not subject to any general obligation to monitor the network, since their intervention is always subject to specific notification by the right holder.

The Directive on electronic commerce only prohibits the imposition on ISPs of a general duty of preventive surveillance, and conversely requires them to implement effective measures for both repression and prevention of offences, using the detailed reports of the right holders, who are therefore reserved a proactive role in the protection of their rights. The First Instance Court further observes that the prohibition of a general obligation to monitor is not in any event of exempting effect here, since the electronic commerce Directive provides that “this does not concern monitoring obligations in a specific case” (DIRECTIVE 2000/31/EC, Whereas No. 47).

Such an order was also considered to be both effective and proportionate. The principle of the proportionality of PI measures must always be balanced with the principle of the effectiveness of copyright protection, which requires the court to take all appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of unlawful acts since, if, for any infringement subsequently found, the intervention of the court was necessary “no injunction could ever be issued for the future, contradicting the very nature of this type of conviction, ontologically projected to prevent the continuation and repetition of the offences to come”.

It is in this perspective that the Court of Justice has in fact ruled that injunction orders “must be sufficiently effective to ensure genuine protection of the fundamental right at issue,” that is to say “they must have the effect of preventing unauthorised access to the protected subject-matter or, at least, of making it difficult to achieve” (CJEU, 27 March 2014, in Case C-314/12, Telekabel).

The Court further observes that the admissibility of the so-called “Dynamic Injunction“, i.e. orders which also extend to sites not expressly indicated in the PI order and which therefore overcome the inconvenience of having to establish subsequent judgements to strike and pursue phenomenologically identical violations, has also been confirmed by the European Commission, when interpreting the Enforcement Directive.

The Court therefore concludes the order by requiring the Respondents, in their capacity as network access providers, take the most appropriate technical measures to prevent the recipients of their services from gaining access to the portals which provide the public with the same illegal content as that at issue in the proceedings and relating to the Magazines, either through the domain name “” or through the “alias” sites, reachable through any domain name, within a maximum of ten working days of receipt of specific notification of violations reported by the applicant, with the right of the recipients of the request to reimbursement of technical costs strictly necessary and inherent to the request itself.

A positive injunction, supported by a penalty that requires ISPs to take all necessary measures to prevent access to all future alias sites that make the same illegal content available to the public and regardless of the first or second level domain actually adopted, is certainly a far-reaching order, but one that poses many implementation issues.

With particular reference to the implementation of the order, the Court of Milan, in the well-known Mediaset Premium case decided by the Court of Milan, had instead refused to extend the order to alias sites that did not yet exist, even if their content was identical, since this would have required a private party to check whether the content was lawful or not, whereas “the current legal system does not seem to allow a private party to be given the status of a body permanently delegated by the judge to fill in the preceptive content of a measure of its own” (Court of Milan, order  27 July 2016, Mediaset Premium).

The order under review seems to go beyond the conclusions of the previous Mediaset Premium in favour of a more effective protection for right holders, which is certainly desirable, following the most recent and extensive interpretation of Community case-law on the liability of intermediaries, while at the same time denoting the growing attention of national courts to the need for right holders to obtain effective measures to combat online piracy.

However, there remain the problems that the previous Mediaset case had reported with regard to the methods of execution of the PI order, since the positive order commented herein shifts the assessment of illegality to a private level, leaving it in fact to the agreement or unity of views on the illegality of the content between the holder of rights and the ISP, relegating the intervention of the judge at the time of non-compliance by the ISP to the request for disabling the alias.

A landmark decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued on 6 December 2017 confirmed that a supplier of luxury goods may prohibit authorised retailers part of a selective distribution system from selling its products on third party e-commerce platforms.[1]

In the case at issue the request for a preliminary ruling was submitted by the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main (Higher Regional Court, Frankfurt am Main) in 2016 in the context of a dispute between Coty Germany GmbH, a supplier of luxury cosmetics established in Germany, and Parfümerie Akzente GmbH, an authorised distributor of those goods, concerning the prohibition, under a selective distribution contract between Coty Germany and its authorised distributors, of the use by the latter, in a discernible manner, of third-party undertakings for internet sales of the contract goods.

Specifically, Coty Germany brought an action before the national court seeking an order prohibiting Parfümerie Akzente from distributing products via the platform ‘’.

The Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main, also in view of the divergent interpretations of the earlier ECJ’s Pierre Fabre decision issued in 2011[2], by the courts and competition authorities of the Member States   decided to stay the proceedings and to refer to the European Court of Justice questions concerning whether a selective distribution system that has as its aim the distribution of luxury goods constitutes an aspect of competition that is compatible with Article 101(1) TFEU and, specifically, whether the general prohibition imposed on members of a selective distribution system to use, in a discernible manner, for internet sales, e-commerce platforms of third-party companies, is compatible with that rule.

In its ruling the ECJ’s, referring to its settled case-law, stated first of all that a selective distribution system for luxury goods designed primarily to preserve the luxury image of those goods does not breach the prohibition of agreements, decisions and concerted practices laid down in EU law, provided that the resellers are chosen on the basis of objective criteria of a qualitative nature, which are laid down uniformly and are not applied in a discriminatory fashion, nor go beyond what is necessary.

The Court then found that EU law does not preclude a contractual clause which prohibits authorised distributors of a selective distribution network of luxury goods from using, in a discernible manner, third-party platforms for internet sales of the goods in question, provided that the clause is appropriate to preserving the luxury image of the goods, it is laid down uniformly, not applied in discriminatory manner and is proportionate in the light of the objective pursued.

The ECJ further noted that, in circumstances such as those of the main proceedings, these conditions are met and therefore prohibition of the use, in a discernible manner, of third-party undertakings for internet sales does not constitute a restriction of customers nor a restriction of passive sales to end users. Such latter restrictions are automatically excluded from the benefit of a block exemption because they are liable to have severely anticompetitive effects.

1. Selective distribution system: general remarks

The adoption of a selective distribution system for companies operating in the field of luxury and fashion is one of the key factors in the process of evaluation, which allows the trademark owner to protect the prestige and renown of its brand and to guarantee the quality of the products to be distinguished, from the time of the product ideation to its delivery to the final user.

Article 1, let. e) of  Regulation (EU) No 330/2010 broadly defines it as a distribution system where the supplier undertakes to sell the contract goods or services, either directly or indirectly, only to distributors selected on the basis of specified criteria and where these distributors undertake not to sell such goods or services to unauthorised distributors within the territory reserved by the supplier to operate that system.

Therefore, the ban on the resale of products to subjects other than end consumers, unrelated to the network established by the manufacturer, is therefore the “heart” of selective distribution, because through it the goods bearing the trademark are marketed exclusively through retailers who meet certain standards of professional competence, which allows the manufacturer to guarantee uniformity of service at points of sale, coordinated management of logistics, training of personnel specialized in the sale of prestigious products and the control of the disposal of unsold products.

The products subject to selective distribution are usually high-class goods with a high symbolic value, bearing trademarks which convey a message of exclusivity, which can be jeopardized even in the absence of likelihood of confusion.

Selective distribution systems are therefore justified not only in the interests of the trademark owner to consolidate its brand awareness and to preserve around its own products an aura of luxury which enables consumers to distinguish them from similar goods, but also in the interest of the consumers to be guaranteed a high level of quality of service, in line with the standard set by the manufacturer.[3]

These principles have been applied and confirmed by the European Court of Justice in the Coty case, where the Court noted that the quality of luxury goods is not simply the result of their material characteristics, but also of the allure and prestigious image which bestows on them an aura of luxury.

These aspects, the ECJ further noted, are essential for luxury goods since they enable consumers to distinguish them from other similar goods. Therefore any impairment to that aura of luxury is likely to affect their actual quality.

2. Selective distribution and trademark exhaustion

The success of this kind of distribution system cannot, in any case, be independent of effective control by the trademark owner.

The development of the free riding phenomenon in the context of a selective distribution system lies in the fact that third party resellers, not belonging to the system, appear on the market as apparent authorized retailers generating in consumers the belief that the reseller belongs to the selective distribution network arranged by the trademark owner.

In recent years this phenomenon has been the subject of a wide debate amongst scholars and case-law, often with opposing positions on the interpretation of trademark exhaustion doctrine and unfair competition by the unauthorized reseller.

Article 5 of the Italian IP Code (likewise Article 15 of the EU Directive No. 2015/2436) provides that the exclusive rights of the trademark’s owner “are exhausted once the products protected by an industrial property right have been put on the market by the owner or with his consent in the territory of the Country or in the territory of a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area”. Paragraph 2 further specifies that “This limitation on the powers of the owner does not however apply when there are legitimate reasons for the owner himself to oppose further marketing of the goods, in particular when the condition of the same has been modified or altered after being put on the market”.

In this regard, the ECJ settled case law clearly states that the existence of a selective distribution agreement is one of the “legitimate reasons” which excludes the application of the exhaustion doctrine of the trademark after the goods have been put on the market, pursuant to Art. 7 No. 2 of Directive 2008/95/C.E. (now, Article 15 EU Directive No. 2015/2436).

Applying these principles, the ECJ clarifies that what is important for the exclusion of the exhaustion doctrine is the confusing effect of the existence of a commercial link between the unauthorized reseller and the trademark’s owner which jeopardizes, or potentially jeopardizes, the aura of luxury and prestige that the trademark’s owner tries to preserve through the adoption of a selective distribution system.

Leading scholarly literature and settled case law have often acknowledged that also the use of false capacity, i.e. pretending to be an authorized reseller which is part of the selective distribution system implemented by the trademark owner, might amount to trademark infringement.[4]

In this regard, the Court of Catania, in a recent ruling issued on 29 November 2016 in proceedings brought by the fashion company Bulgari against an unauthorized reseller, acknowledged that the use of the brand “BVLGARI” on the unauthorized reseller’s web site in order to advertise the sale of Bulgari’s products generated the belief in the public that reseller was part of Bulgari’s distribution network.[5]

The Court further stated that the burden of proof of the existence of “legitimate reasons” pursuant to Art. 15 EU Directive No. 2015/2436 had been fulfilled by the trademark owner since Bulgari was able to prove:

1 – The implementation of a selective distribution system, based on contractual clauses to impose precise quality standards on distributors;

2 – That the goods at issue were luxury or prestige items;

3 – That the sale of Bulgari’s product by an unauthorized reseller, for its specific methods which were not in accordance with the well-known trademark’s owner standards, resulted in an actual prejudice to the prestigious and exclusive image of Bulgari, not respecting any of the quality standards imposed on authorized resellers.[6]

 3. Violation of a selective distribution system and unfair competition

Italian case law also analysed a further aspect concerning the role of the third party unauthorized reseller in the context of a selective distribution system, i.e. whether inducing an authorized dealer to violate its contractual obligations may amount to a violation of the selective distribution system and therefore a breach of contractual obligations.

Selective distribution agreement is legally binding only between the parties. Therefore, the ban on the resale of products to subjects unrelated to the network established by the manufacturer, other than end consumers, is not binding to third parties, such as the unauthorized reseller.

In the past decade, Italian case law often held the view that the unauthorized reseller is always free to buy the goods intended for selective distribution, pursuant to the constitutional freedom of the enterprise. The violation of a selective distribution system by those who are not contractually bound by such a system does not amount to unfair competition, since the obligations between the manufacturer and its authorized dealer are not binding for the third party.[7]

In this regard, a landmark case of the Court of Palermo, following a more recent trend[8], acknowledged that the interference of a third party with a selective distribution system may amount to an act of unfair competition such as “involving in another’s breach of obligations”, which has to be considered an independent act of unfair competition prohibited pursuant to Art. 2598, No. 3 Italian Civil Code.[9]

If the selective distribution network is legitimately created by the trademark’s owner, in compliance with the antitrust regulations, the acts of third parties not belonging to the network consisting in selling (despite having been made aware of the existence of the selective distribution system) products bearing that mark may be considered acts of unfair competition.

Specifically, the Court noted that there may be unfair competition exclusively in the case whether the unauthorized reseller is aware, or has been made aware, of the existence of a selective distribution agreement. Therefore, “once he receives such communication it is no longer a question of irrelevance due to the relativity of obligations principle exclusively between the manufacturer and the distributer” and then “continuing to sell trademarked products even after the manufacturer has notified that a selective distribution system was implemented amounts to unfair competition”.

4. Practical implications

The above mentioned cases deal with different aspects related to the same issue: enforcing trademark rights in the context of a selective distribution strategy in the luxury field in order to protect brand owners against different forms of free riding.

These rulings provide helpful guidance for companies in the luxury field as to what is permissible and can be done to enforce selective distribution against distributors in breach of their contractual obligations and unauthorized resellers.

In conclusion some basic guidelines in this area of luxury goods are:

1. the selective distribution system implemented by the trademark owner to distribute luxury goods must be based on contractual clauses which impose precise quality standards on distributors, i.e. it must be compliant with the antitrust regulations,

2. it is essential to prove that  the products in questions are luxury items and that the selective distribution system is necessary to protect their luxury image,

3. the restrictions imposed on distributors must be consistent with the aim of protecting that luxury image, they must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner and should not go beyond what is necessary.

4. the requirements of the selective distribution system need to be regularly assessed by the brand owner to guarantee they remain fit for purpose,

5. restrictions on sales on third-party platforms, such as Amazon or Ebay, to protect a luxury image are allowed only provided that this does not give rise to a total prohibition on online sales,

6. beside trademark infringement, in order to prove unfair competition by the unauthorized reseller for interfering in the selective distribution agreement, i.e. involvement in another’s breach of obligation, it is necessary to prove awareness on the part of the unauthorized distributor of the existence of a selective distribution agreement between the trademark’s owner and its reseller.


[1] ECJ, 6 December 2017, C‑230/16, “Coty”.

[2] ECJ, 13 October 2011, C-439/09, “Pierre Fabre”, which, purely for the goods at issue in that case, stated that the need to preserve the prestigious image of cosmetic and body hygiene goods was not a legitimate requirement for the purpose of justifying a comprehensive prohibition of the internet sale of those goods.

[3] See ECJ, 23 April 2009, C-59/08, “Copad”, which stated that “the quality of luxury goods…is not just the result of their material characteristics, but also of the allure and prestigious image which bestows on them an aura of luxury. Since luxury goods are high-class goods, the aura of luxury emanating from them is essential in that it enables consumers to distinguish them from similar goods. Therefore, an impairment to that aura of luxury is likely to affect the actual quality of those goods. Given that context, it must next be examined whether, in the case in the main proceedings, the sale by the licensee of luxury goods to discount stores which are not part of the selective distribution network set up under the licence agreement, may constitute such impairment…Setting up a selective distribution system such as that at issue in the main proceedings which, according to the terms of the licence agreement between Dior and SIL, seeks to ensure that the goods are displayed in sales outlets in a manner that enhances their value, ‘especially as regards the positioning, advertising, packaging as well as business policy’, contributes… to the reputation of the goods at issue and therefore to sustaining the aura of luxury surrounding them”.

[4]  Please see, amongst others, Court of Rome, 28 April 2004, which granted to Jaguar urgency measures against an unauthorized reseller using its distinctive trademark, stating that “the use of a service mark, if carried out in such a way as to appear to consumers as an indicative sign of the third party’s affiliation to the service network of the trade mark owner, constitutes trademark infringement, since the public falls into error about the inclusion of the retailer in the sales network of the trademark owner”.

[5]  Court of Catania, 29 November 2016.  See also Galli, Bulgari successfully enforces selective distribution network against former distributor, WTR, 27 March 2017.

[6] Specifically, the Court found that there was no assortment of products, nor adequate display stands and the unauthorised reseller was applying excessively high discounts, which were not in keeping with Bulgari’s standards.

[7] Court of Venice, 10 March 2004; Court of Milan, 8 March 2004; Court of Bari, 11 July 2008.

[8] See also Court of Milan, 13 March 2009, which stated that “The entrepreneur who, having been aware of the existence of a selective distribution network for products of a certain brand, since he was specifically excluded, and he led the consumers to believe is an authorized distributor of those products violates unfair competition law”.

[9] Court of Palermo, 28 February 2013, which stated that the unauthorized seller of Thun’s products, the well-known manufacturer of artistic ceramics, was aware of the implementation of a selective distribution network since he has been notified by the trademark owner through a letter prior to the preliminary injunction proceedings.


Every transmission or retransmission of a work which uses a specific technical means must, as a rule, be individually authorised by the author of the work in question”.

This is one the main principles ensuing from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the its recent decision of 29 November 2017 (Case C-265/16).

Continue Reading CJEU on VCAST Recording Service: is a Different Means of Transmission an Essential Condition for the Existence of a New Communication to the Public?

youtube.jpgCon decisione del 5 maggio 2014, il Tribunale di Torino ha rigettato la domanda cautelare di Delta TV Programmes nei confronti Google e Youtube, finalizzata ad ottenere un’inibitoria urgente in relazione alla pubblicazione abusiva, su Youtube, di episodi di varie telenovelas di proprietà della ricorrente. Il Tribunale ha rigettato la domanda ribadendo il contenuto delle norme del d.lgs. 7/2003 secondo cui, in sostanza, il “fornitore di servizi della società dell’informazione” che svolga semplice attività di hosting, come nel caso del fornitore di servizi internet di videosharing, quale è Youtube, gode di una deroga di responsabilità in relazione alla eventuale violazione di diritti esclusivi commessa attraverso lo sharing non autorizzato di contenuti protetti, nel caso in cui, in seguito alla diffida ricevuta dal titolare dei diritti, i contenuti siano prontamente rimossi.  

Continue Reading Nessun obbligo di sorveglianza o ricerca per Youtube, secondo il Tribunale di Torino.


Oggi, 31 marzo 2014, entra in vigore il nuovo regolamento dell’AGCOM (adottato lo scorso 12 dicembre con delibera n. 680/13/CONS) volto ad offrire ai titolari di un diritto d’autore sulle opere digitali, diffuse tramite le reti di comunicazione elettronica, e dei diritti ad esso connessi, una tutela quanto più immediata ed efficace possibile, in risposta alla estrema velocità con cui le informazioni si diffondono tramite simili mezzi di comunicazione. 

Continue Reading Una tutela rafforzata per il copyright sul web e sui media

Continuerà a Singapore a fine mese (23 – 27 marzo) la battaglia che vede contrapposti gliimage blog.jpg interessi dei produttori vitivinicoli, prevalentemente europei, e l’ICANN, sulla concessione dei domini “.wine” e “.vin”, che potrebbe avere un enorme impatto in materia di tutela delle indicazioni geografiche nel settore del vino dal rischio di frodi e contraffazione in internet. 
Su questo blog abbiamo già parlato dell’ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – organizzazione con sede a Los Angeles che si occupa della gestione e assegnazione, a livello mondiale, dei nomi a dominio in internet) e della politica di liberalizzazione dei nomi a dominio da questa inaugurata nel 2011 al fine di  accrescere la concorrenza e la competitività anche sul web.
In pratica tale liberalizzazione ha consentito la registrazione di nuovi domini di primo livello generici (generic Top-Level Domain o gTLD) personalizzati, che si aggiungono ai domini già esistenti, ovvero ai “classici” .com, .org, .gov., .net ecc.. Ad esempio, alcune aziende hanno registrato gTDL in funzione della propria attività (.hotel, .fashion, .food ecc.), mentre altre hanno richiesto la registrazione come gTDL del proprio marchio (.apple, .facebook, .nike ecc.).
Il problema è sorto quando quattro società (Usa, Irlanda e Gibilterra), completamente estranee al settore vitivinicolo hanno richiesto all’ICANN l’assegnazione dei domini “.wine” e “.vin”, con l’intento di commercializzarli ed avere un ritorno sui propri investimenti. 
Ma ciò che ha più allarmato i produttori di vino e le associazioni che li rappresentano è che i dossiers presentati dalle società richiedenti prevedono anche la possibilità di concedere a terzi dei nomi a dominio “premium”, il cui contenuto non è specificato, e che potranno essere venduti all’asta al migliore offerente. 
In buona sostanza esiste il rischio che nomi a dominio contenenti celebri indicazioni geografiche (ad esempio, o siano utilizzati da imprese che nulla hanno a che vedere con i vini di qualità delle denominazioni indicate e che il consumatore possa essere fuorviato dai domini utilizzati.
Inizialmente l’ICANN sembrava favorevole alla libera concessione dei suddetti domini “.wine” e “.vin” ma dopo le numerose proteste ricevute ha deciso momentaneamente di sospenderne l’assegnazione. 
Questa decisione ha provocato una vera e propria battaglia tra chi, come gli Stati Uniti, ne vorrebbe la libera assegnazione, e chi invece sottolinea la pericolosità di una simile liberalizzazione, tra cui sono schierate in prima linea la Commissione Europea, la Federazione Europea dei Vini di Origine (EFOW) e il GAC (ovvero il comitato consultivo formato dai Governi di diversi Paesi all’interno dell’ICANN stesso).
Ci si chiede, allora, perché Unione Europea e Stati Uniti si trovano su posizioni così diametralmente opposte?
Entrambi, sappiamo, sono firmatari dell’Accordo TRIPs (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) del 1994, che all’art. 22 tutela le indicazioni geografiche consacrandole come veri e propri diritti di proprietà intellettuale, e all’art. 23 disciplina in particolare le indicazioni geografiche di vini e liquori. Le norme TRIPs, però, non contemplano una normativa uniforme per tutti i Paesi firmatari ma prevedono che ciascun Paese provveda a predisporre gli strumenti giuridici atti a proteggere i consumatori dall’uso fuorviante di indicazioni geografiche; sicché, se da un lato l’Europa riconosce alle IG quella funzione di differenziazione del prodotto sul mercato, tipico dei diritti di IP, anche con una normativa ad hoc (Reg. 510/2006), all’opposto gli Stati Uniti tendono a non considerare le IG quali veri e propri diritti di proprietà intellettuale, ritenendo sufficiente la protezione accordata mediante la registrazione dei marchi. 
Pertanto, sull’argomento la tensione tra UE e Stati Uniti  rimane altissima, e con l’auspicio con questa vicenda si concluda presto e nel miglior modo possibile per gli operatori del settore vitivinicolo – una delle eccellenze del nostro Paese – aspettiamo l’esito del prossimo meeting ICANN di Singapore previsto per fine mese.
Ovviamente questo problema, che oggi interessa il settore del vino, può estendersi ad altri settori alimentari, qualora altri nuovi domini di primo livello come “.food” o “.pizza”, solo per fare alcuni esempi, vengano utilizzati in modo illecito in Paesi ove le indicazioni geografiche non ricevono adeguata tutela.  
La politica di liberalizzazione adottata dall’ICANN potrebbe quindi comportare dei rischi per le nostre produzioni agroalimentari e si ravvisa quanto mai la necessità di un intervento normativo che stabilisca a tutela delle indicazioni geografiche una disciplina uniforme e valida per tutti.



google suggest 2.bmpDopo aver constatato che, inserendo il proprio nome e cognome nella barra del motore di ricerca Google, il software di completamento automatico GoogleSuggest o Google Autocomplete suggeriva di includere nella ricerca i termini “arrestato” ed “indagato”, X agiva in via cautelare innanzi al Tribunale di Pinerolo nei confronti di Google, chiedendo che a questa fosse ordinato di  eliminare l’associazione tra termini, ritenuta diffamatoria. Secondo X si trattava infatti di un suggerimento contrario al vero, non essendo X stato mai arrestato o indagato, e lesivo della reputazione personale e professionale di X. Il Tribunale ha però escluso la responsabilità di Google e conseguentemente rigettato le richieste cautelari di X, rilevando che le modalità di funzionamento del sistema Google Autocomplete portano ad escludere un’attività illecita da parte di Google. In particolare, poiché l’associazione tra termini avviene in base ad un algoritmo che tiene conto delle rilevazioni statistiche di quali siano le ricerche più comunemente effettuate dagli utenti, secondo il Tribunale l’associazione dei termini “indagato” o “arrestato” al nome di X una volta che questo venga inserito nella stringa di ricerca equivarrebbe a “rendere noto che un certo numero di fruitori di internet si interroghi sul fatto se il ricorrente sia o meno stato coinvolto in vicende penali e voglia verificare se nel web vi siano informazioni in proposito … il fatto può paragonarsi ad una mera diffusione, senza secondi o maliziosi fini, di una notizia avente il menzionato contenuto”. Non ravvisando alcun carattere diffamatorio o illecito in detto contenuto, con ordinanza in data 2 maggio 2012 il Tribunale di Pinerolo ha escluso che la fattispecie possa rientrare nei casi in cui all’Internet Service Provider può essere ordinata la rimozione ex art. 16 d lgs. 70/2003. Si tratta di una motivazione che è destinata a far discutere. Il nodo da sciogliere è infatti se l’associazione tra termini suggerita a mezzo del software Autocomplete combinando informazioni tra loro diverse e separate, lasciate da utenti terzi, possa essere qualificato come semplice hosting di contenuti, o se piuttosto questo non sia un vero e proprio servizio aggiuntivo che Google – agendo come content provider e non come semplice hosting – fornisce ai propri utenti mettendoli nelle condizioni di effettuare ricerche più veloci, mirate ed efficaci. In quest’ultimo caso – e a prescindere dall’effettiva portata diffamatoria dei termini “arrestato” e “indagato” (comunque inesistente, secondo il Tribunale) – si dovrebbe escludere che il suggerimento dell’associazione a termini offensivi possa essere scriminato in quanto semplice “cronaca” delle ricerche effettuate da altri utenti. Di questo avviso sembra essere il Tribunale di Milano, che nel decidere un caso praticamente identico a quello in questione, già commentato sul nostro blog (qui), ha rigettato il reclamo proposto da Google, ritenendo che “l’associazione tra il nome del ricorrente e le parole “truffa” e “truffatore” è opera del software messo a punto appositamente adottato da Google per ottimizzare l’accesso alla sua banca dati operando con modalità descritte e … prescelte per consentirne l’operatività allo scopo voluto (quello appunto di agevolare l’utilizzo del motore di ricerca Google) .. non può che conseguirne la diretta addebitabilità alla società”. Mi sembra si possa dire che siamo di fronte ad un netto contrasto giurisprudenziale. Restiamo in attesa di ulteriori sviluppi. 

duomo.jpgCon ricorso depositato nell’estate del 2011 innanzi al Tribunale di Milano – Sezione specializzata in proprietà intellettuale, KayOne (al secolo, Marco Mantovani, il writer milanese passato in breve tempo dai murales e graffiti di strada alle gallerie e alla patina delle riviste d’arte contemporanea) ha agito in via cautelare nei confronti del writer concorrente Nicola Leonetti, reo di avere pubblicato sul suo blog “Arteblog Italia Leonettinicola” immagini di opere realizzate da KayOne senza l’attribuzione dell’effettiva paternità, nonché una serie di oltre 80 opere realizzate dallo stesso Leonetti che – secondo quanto prospettato da KayOne – costituivano un plagio delle sue opere, in quanto presentavano gli elementi caratterizzanti ed il linguaggio pittorico che da sempre contraddistinguono lo stile e le opere di KayOne. Investito della questione (nell’ambito della quale Nicola Leonetti non si è nemmeno difeso, rimanendo contumace) il giudice ha rilevato che è stata fornita la prova del fatto che le opere di KayOne sono state proposte sul blog del concorrente senza attribuzione di paternità e che ciò – unitamente al fatto che lo stesso Leonetti si definiva nel proprio blog “artista, writer e giocoliere del colore” è comportamento idoneo a ingenerare nei visitatori del blog la convinzione che si tratti di opere di Leonetti, con conseguente violazione dei diritti d’autore sulle opere di KayOne. Per quanto riguarda le oltre 80 opere sospettate di plagio, il giudice ha operato un confronto diretto tra dette opere e le opere realizzate da Kay One e ha rilevato nelle opere di Leonetti un intento meramente riproduttivo. Le stesse presentano infatti “gli elementi stilistici che possono ritenersi propri della personalità artistica di KayOne, quali il costante utilizzo del colore bianco e grigio, delle lettere a “stencil”, di retini, trasparenze, figure di rombi, linee appuntite, di spruzzi ad andamento circolare, il tutto caratterizzato da sgocciolature e schizzi che richiamano uno stile di pittura energico e dinamico che ne rivela la sostanziale impulsività”. Ciò a prescindere dalle differenze che pur caratterizzano le opere di Leonetti, ritenute tuttavia insufficienti al fine di escludere la violazione, in quanto prive di un autonomo valore creativo. Sulla valutazione del giudice ha peraltro giocato un ruolo determinante la condotta concretamente tenuta da Leonetti, consistita nell’esporre le sue opere e le opere di KayOne nello stesso spazio web “senza menzionare il nome dell’autore e dunque di fatto attribuendo a sé la paternità delle stesse” e proponendo foto del laboratorio di KayOne, nonché di una tela dello stesso artista esposta in occasione di una rassegna artistica e che tradiscono l’intento di effettuare una costante e pedante riproduzione. Il giudice ha pertanto disposto la rimozione delle immagini contestate dal blog del resistente, il sequestro delle opere realizzate da Leonetti in violazione dei diritti d’autore di KayOne e la pubblicazione dell’ordinanza su una rivsta specializzata del settore. 

ris-roma-2.jpgCon ordinanza del 20 ottobre 2011 il Tribunale di Roma ha deciso l’ennesimo caso promosso da RTI a tutela dei diritti di utilizzazione e sfruttamento economico  sui propri programmi televisivi nei confronti di internet service providers. In particolare, RTI ha depositato ricorso cautelare con cui chiedeva di ordinare alla VBBCOM Limited di rimuovere dal portale internet ( dalla stessa gestito numerosi contenuti audiovisivi che riproducevano programmi RTI (in particolare “Squadra Antimafia 3 Palermo oggi” e “RIS Roma 2”). Il giudizio cautelare è stato instaurato anche nei confronti della società Choopa LLC, gestore del server su cui è ospitato il portale Videobb . Il Tribunale di Roma ha accolto la domanda nei confronti del gestore del portale VBB, motivando che lo stesso – riservandosi ogni diritto di sfruttamento commerciale dei contenuti caricati dai singoli utenti e intervenendo con operazioni tecniche di organizzazione e selezione di detti contenuti finalizzate ad una migliore fruizione da parte degli utenti, non possa qualificarsi come semplice hosting provider e quindi non possa beneficiare dell’esenzione di responsabilità prevista dagli artt. 12 – 14 della direttiva 2000/31 e 14 – 16 del d. lgs. 70/03, né dell’esenzione dall’obbligo generale di sorveglianza di cui all’art. 15 della direttiva 2000/31 e 17 del d. lgs. 70/03. La domanda non è stata tuttavia accolta nei confronti di Choopa, il gestore del server. Il giudice – adottando la precedente impostazione già adottata dal Tribunale di Roma secondo cui, nonostante l’esenzione prevista dall’art. 16 del d. lgs. 70/2003, l’hosting provider deve comunque ritenersi responsabile  qualora esso “non abbia prontamente ottemperato all’ordine dell’autorità giudiziaria od amministrativa di impedire l’accesso alle informazioni illecite oppure nell’ipotesi in cui esso, consapevole del carattere illecito o pregiudizievole per un terzo del contenuto di un servizio di cui assicura l’accesso alla rete, non abbia provveduto ad informarne l’autorità competente” – ha tuttavia rilevato che RTI non ha provveduto ad informare Choopa con una diffida dettagliata e che pertanto, non essendo stata messa al corrente, Choopa non può essere ritenuta responsabile. Ha altresì rilevato che, a seguito della presentazione del ricorso e dell’indicazione da parte di RTI degli effettivi indirizzi URL che riconducevano ai contenuti ritenuti illeciti, Choopa ha provveduto alla loro rimozione, concludendo per “l’inesistenza nel caso di specie di una condotta effettivamente rilevante sotto il profilo della responsabilità civile”. Ne consegue il rigetto della domanda di inibitoria nei confronti di Choopa. E’ interessante notare che il giudice, nel motivare il rigetto, ha altresì precisato che “né, d’altra parte, appare concedibile nei confronti di un soggetto ritenuto non responsabile un provvedimento inibitorio destinato a prevenire possibili condotte illecite altrui non ancora realizzate, non essendo esigibile nei confronti di Choopa, in quanto hosting provider passivo, l’esercizio di un controllo preventivo in riferimento a tutti e a ciascuno dei contenuti che fossero ospitati sui siti dei propri server”. Sembra dunque risolto il profilo di criticità che avevamo già sollevato nei confronti di precedenti già decisi dai tribunali italiani, circa il fatto che i provvedimenti di inibitoria di volta in volta adottati – nella parte in cui inibivano la prosecuzione e ripetizione dell’illecito – avrebbero imposto all’hosting provider di verificare il proprio server rispetto alla presenza di contenuti illeciti che potessero esservi caricati in futuro da utenti del servizio, in contrasto con l’esenzione da responsabilità e da obbligo di sorveglianza previsti dalla legge. Siamo quindi finalmente arrivati al nocciolo della questione, e cioè quale sia la corretta definizione di service provider ai fini dell’esenzione di responsabilità prevista dalla legge.  Secondo la più recente giurisprudenza sembrerebbe bastare una qualche attività orgnaizzativa dei contenuti foprniti da terzi per essere eslcusi dall’esenzione.