The European Court of Justice decides on the permissibility of “Punitive Damage”

A Polish court referred the following question to the European Court of Justice: Is a Polish law that provides for payment of a double reasonable royalty fee in case of copyright infringement in compliance with EU law? The Polish court was of the opinion that this is questionable with regard to Article 13 of EU Directive 2004/48/EU (“Enforcement-Directive”) because this directive stipulates in Recital 26, that its aim is not to introduce damage claims for the purposes of punishment. The European Court of Justice now decided in its judgment of January 25, 2017 (C-367/15) that this Polish law was compliant with the law of the European Union. The “Enforcement-Directive” was only to establish a minimum standard for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The EU member-states were not precluded to establish measurements for a stronger protection.