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ECJ Clears Up International E-Commerce Disputes

Plane tickets, music, office supplies--you name it, you can buy it on the web. In Europe and throughout the world, consumers frequently purchase goods and services based outside their home countries. But when a consumer or a company from different countries are unhappy with an online transaction and decide to sue, determining which litigant gets home court advantage may be confusing.

Until recently, Europe has relied on a vague section of the 2001 Brussels I Regulation to help figure it out. The law says a business has to sue a consumer in the consumer's home country if the business "directs its activities [toward] that consumer's state." No one was sure, however, if merely operating a website constituted sufficient direction to compel jurisdiction in the consumer's home country.

Passive Purchasing

Resolving the uncertainty surrounding website sales has been an ongoing concern because so many people buy and so many companies sell products and services on the Internet.

Nothing Shocking

The ECJ handled the question well, using common sense and avoiding any big surprises, Graf says. And although the list of factors doesn't add anything "massively new" to the table, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin Partner Mark Weston says it still resolves a large chunk of
the confusion.

Manage Your Web

When European in-house attorneys are consulting their clients' web development, Pammer/Hotel Alpenhof will help answer fundamental questions regarding company web presence.

Assistant Editor

Christopher Danzig

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