Jurisdiction in the case of harm to the reputation of an online company

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Jurisdiction in the case of harm to the reputation of an online company

Jurisdiction in the case of harm to the reputation of an online company

Within the European Union, a company that has its reputation damaged on the Internet may request the deletion of the publication and ask damages for its prejudice before a judge of the Member State in which it has its centre of interest.

An Estonian company was accused, on the website of a Swedish company, of acts of fraud and deceit. Many of the comments published on the site called for violence against this Estonian company and its employees.

Before a request to remove the publications, and to repair its prejudice, the Estonian Court referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (Cjeu) concerning a preliminary question on jurisdiction. 

On the basis of Article 7.2 of the European regulation Brussels I bis, the CJEU considers that the legal person claiming that its personal rights have been violated by the publication of inaccurate data on the Internet may form an appeal before the Jurisdictions of the Member State in which the centre of its interests lies. 

It states that the centre of interest of a legal person, carrying out an economic activity ,is the place where its commercial reputation is most established, and therefore must be determined according to the place where it carries out most of its economic activity. Thus, if the company concerned has a major part of its activity in a Member State, other than that of its registered office, it may prosecute the alleged offender In this other Member State. 

The CJEU states, however, that only one action may be taken, as the victim society cannot appeal to the courts of each Member State in whose territory the information is accessible.

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