Tagged: harmonization

The European Parliament on cross border transfer of company seat

In its Cartesio judgment (C-210/06) the Court ruled that “as Community law now stands, Articles 43 EC and 48 EC are to be interpreted as not precluding legislation of a Member State under which a company incorporated under the law of that Member State may not transfer its seat to another Member State whilst retaining its status as a company governed by the law of the Member State of incorporation.”

 The Court also stated that a Member State has the power to define the connecting factors to determine whether a company is incorporated under the law of that Member State. However this power “enjoys any form of immunity from the rules of the EC Treaty on freedom of establishment, cannot, in particular, justify the Member State of incorporation, by requiring the winding-up or liquidation of the company, in preventing that company from converting itself into a company governed by the law of the other Member State, to the extent that it is permitted under that law to do so”.

This judgment confirms the necessity of harmonizing the regimes of cross border transfer of company seat within the European Union, but it does not provide any clarification.

Considering the developments in the case law of the Court as well as the Stockholm Programme and its implementation, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on cross border transfer of company seat within the European Union on 2 February 2012. In the resolution, the EP requests the European Commission to swiftly submit a proposal for a directive on cross border transfer of company seat.

Stem cell research in Brüstle

Who would have thought 60 years ago that the Court of Justice would rule on matters of life and death? In Brüstle (Case C-34/10, Brüstle v. Greenpeace) the Court had to answer questions about the patentability of stem cells derived from human embryos for medical applications (Parkinson’s disease). A German Court had made a preliminary reference to the Court in a procedure between Brüstle and Greenpeace on the interpretation of Directive 98/44/EC.

The Court was pretty cautious in its approach:

 34      The context and aim of the Directive thus show that the European Union legislature intended to exclude any possibility of patentability where respect for human dignity could thereby be affected. It follows that the concept of ‘human embryo’ within the meaning of Article 6(2)(c) of the Directive must be understood in a wide sense.

35      Accordingly, any human ovum must, as soon as fertilised, be regarded as a ‘human embryo’ within the meaning and for the purposes of the application of Article 6(2)(c) of the Directive, since that fertilisation is such as to commence the process of development of a human being.

This led the Court to decide that Mr Brüstle research could not be patented: not in Germany, nor in the rest of the EU. Not surprisingly, scientists in the EU are not very happy about the outcome.