Since September 1, 2016, nearly all cases in Sweden related to IP and marketing law are handled by the newly established Patent and Market Court. The Patent and Market Court is located in Stockholm and the cases are heard by specialist judges. Appeals to the decisions of the Patent and Market Court are made to the Patent and Market Appeals Court subject to a leave to appeal. If a case is of precedential importance a further right to appeal to the Swedish Supreme Court as a final instance might be granted.
The previously divided system where cases related to IP and marketing law were shared between the general courts, administrative courts. By concentrating these cases to unified judicial system with specialized judges the aim is to contribute to a more efficient, cost decreasing and high quality system.
A change with impact from a strategic and practical point of view is that it will no longer be possible to challenge marketing practices within a single court procedure. Previously the Market Court was the first and final instance for cases under the Swedish Market Practices Act (MPA) not involving claims for damages. By excluding claims for damages you could subsequently avoid lengthy court proceedings due to appeals. It appears likely that this change will further support the trend of seeking damages from competitors under the MPA.
Additionally, the Swedish Consumer Ombudsman has been given strengthened powers to enforce breaches of the MPA. As of 1 October 2016 the Swedish Consumer Ombudsman is competent to impose an immediate injunction subject to a conditional fine against marketers in breach of the MPA. Until this amendment entered into force last year the Swedish Consumer Ombudsman needed a marketer's approval in order to impose such injunctions without taking legal action. This provides the Swedish Consumer Ombudsman with a new means to act swiftly against breaches of the MPA.
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