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In Dimensione Direct Sales Srl and another v Knoll International SpA: C-516/13  All ER (D) 109 (May) how did the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) deal with a reference for a preliminary ruling on the scope of the distribution right concerning offers for sale and advertisements?
The Knoll companies own the rights to manufacture and sell furniture worldwide including furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The defendants in this German reference to the CJEU, Dimensione Direct Sales (DDS) and its managing director Mr Labianca, also sell furniture. They offered for sale furniture by the designers mentioned via a website and advertised in various German newspapers and magazines in the German language.
Knoll believed the items of furniture offered for sale by DDS to be counterfeit versions of its protected works and so sought an injunction to stop DDS from advertising or offering for sale furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe through its website.
The first and main question was whether the distribution right under the InfoSoc Directive, art 4(1) included the right to ‘offer’ the original or copies of the work to the public for sale.
Follow up questions were:
• Question 2—does the right to offer the original or copies of the work to the public for sale include not only contractual offers, but also advertising measures?
• Question 3—is the distribution right infringed even if no purchase of the original or copies of the work takes place on the basis of the offer?
Declaring the second question inadmissible due to lack of information on the underlying facts, the AG grouped the first and third questions together. He decided that the InfoSoc Directive, art 4(1) must be interpreted as meaning that under the distribution right, the owner of the copyright in the original or copies of the work may prohibit a third party, who
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