Finland: Pending parallel import proceedings in the Finnish Supreme Court

02 March 2010

Ella Mikkola

Litigation is currently pending before the Finnish Supreme Court relating to the re-packaging of pharmaceuticals. In particular, the Supreme Court will decide whether:

  • Company B, a parallel importer, has infringed the trade mark rights of Company A when B has used the trade mark of the A in combination with the trade mark of B on packaging; and

  • whether A has now lost its right to invoke infringement of its trade mark rights as a result of accused passivity (i.e. failure to start an action against the infringement in time).

The Supreme Court has made a decision on admissibility of an appeal, i.e. it has granted leave of appeal in 2009 (docket number VL:2009-73). Decision on the merits of the case will likely be handed down later in 2010.

The Finnish Supreme Court handles only such appeals in which the Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal: leave to appeal is granted in around 10% of the cases. The Supreme Court typically grants leave to appeal only provided the decision of the Supreme Court is necessary for the application of law in identical or similar cases or for the consistency of case law. The Finnish Supreme Court passes approximately 150 precedents each year.