JŠK Legal Flash
Unified rules for increased protection of whistleblowers across the EU by 2021 at the latest
In early October, the Council of the European Union adopted a directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. Its purpose is to ensure a high level of protection for these persons in a number of sectors, including public procurement, financial services and AML as well as protection of privacy and personal data, both for whistleblowing within organisations and when notifying the public authorities. The directive obliges private and public organisations to establish secure channels for reporting infringements and taking follow-up action. Member States will also have to introduce regulations to prohibit any form of retaliation or attempts in this regard. Since the publication of the Directive in the Official Journal, Member States will have two years for its transposition.
McDonald’s loses its "Mc" trademark in the EU
Following the recent revocation of the Big Mac trademark, the multinational fast-food chain may lose the exclusive right to use another of its iconic designations. Indeed, the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) recently partially revoked the "Mc" trademark. due to lack of use.
In its judgment, which is still revocable, the EUIPO stated among other things that the use of the sign “Mc" as part of the denominations "McDonald’s" or "McFlurry" does not fulfill the requirement of proper use of the trademark in the market, since the distinctive capacity of the trademark "Mc" is altered.
The obligation to use the mark actively on the market, for example by placing it on products or use in advertising, is therefore not fulfilled if the mark used in the market substantially differs from how the trademark was actually registered. Only supplementary changes are allowed, i.e. those that do not alter the nature of the sign as such, and connection of the trademark with another protected sign is not permitted.
New regulation of online intermediation services platforms
The relationship between online selling businesses and online intermediation services platforms is about to be transformed in Europe. Due to concerns about the growing power of online intermediaries like Google, the App Store, Booking.com, eBay, Facebook and Instagram, the EU has recently implemented legislation to tackle this issue. Regulation 2019/1150 will come into force in July 2020 to support competition and make the online marketplace more transparent.
Online platforms will now be required to provide clear and unambiguous terms and conditions in which the following are disclosed: 1) the ranking determining the order in which search results are displayed; 2) disclosure of any preferential conditions in case an online platform is vertically integrated and offers its own goods, competing with other business users; 3) disclosure of their data policy towards users, including determination of its impact on them. Online platforms will also have to set up an internal system for handling complaints of the business users.