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Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas & Partners
On 19 April 2007, the European Court of Justice delivered its judgement in Case C-381/05 De Landtsheer Emmanuel SA v Co Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin SA whereby it clarified that comparative advertising between products without designation of origin and products with such designation was allowed under the EU law.
According to the ECJ, products with a designation of origin may be compared with the ones having no such designation without considering the comparison as a comparative advertisement. The Court, first of all, was asked by a national court whether the provisions of the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive 2006/114/EC cover the advertisements where only the types of a product, and not specific undertakings or products are being compared. According to the ECJ, the fact that the advertisers competitors or the goods or services may be identified as being in fact referred to by the advertisement is of no relevance to the comparative advertisements.
The second question was whether it was permissible to compare products with the designation of origin with the ones without such designation. The ECJ pointed out that the comparison is permitted if the following conditions are met:
the comparative advertisement does not take unfair advantage of the reputation of the competitors distinguishing marks or of the designation of origin of competing products;
the comparative advertisement does not involve comparison of products having different designations.
In addition, the ECJ emphasized once again a principle that the conditions required of comparative advertising must be interpreted in the sense most favourable to it.
The full text of the judgement of the European Court of Justice is available at:
Line maps may be ascribed to the objects of copyright. The Supreme Court of Lithuania in its 11 April 2007 ruling in civil case No 3K-3- 48/2007 K. M. publishing house Briedis, M. B., V. J., R. M. and A. L. v J. K. publishing house Saulabrolis, UAB Arlila and S. D. has stated that in view of the fact that an author of line maps cannot enjoy numerous possibilities to express his creativity and individuality, the originality of objects is assessed according to the mode and form of depiction of data. The creative individuality of a map may be disclosed through the concept of a map, peculiar order of selection and layout of data, colour expression, etc. Since an author creates line maps relying on databases and his creative faculties, selects information and tailors it to a certain task, coordinates the contents of line maps with school programmes etc., so line maps should be treated as an authors creative work which is protected under law.
The powers of the head of a company should expire when a new head of a company is elected at the general meeting of shareholders and starts performing his functions in such position. The Supreme Court of Lithuania in its 26 March 2007 ruling in civil case No 3K-3-238/2007 UAB Birių krovinių terminalas v LK AB Klaipėdos Smeltė, state enterprise Klaipėda State Seaport Directorate has stated that the following two bodies should be formed and function in a company: the supreme body general meeting of shareholders, and one-person body head of the company. This is an imperative rule of laws because without the mentioned bodies legal entities would not be in a position to assume and exercise civil rights, i.e. to exercise a legal persons capacity. In deciding the issue of the right to provide process documents to the court by the head of a company at maturity of his powers, it is necessary to consider whether the head of the company actually continues performing his functions, whether the companys shareholders recognise (by their actions) him as the head of the company and do not request him to return his powers. It should also be established whether or not the general meeting of shareholders takes appropriate actions seeking to elect a new head of the company and vest him with new powers. Thus it ensues that in cases where upon maturity of the term of powers of a person as the head of a company the latter and the companys shareholders, however, agree to continue mandate relations, such relations will continue and the person will be deemed holding the post of the companys head.
On 19 April 2007, the Commission approved the Customs 2013 Program proposed by the European Parliament and the Council. The new program is tackling such Customs Union problems as fraud and high compliance costs for traders. During the period from 2008 to 2013, the Customs 2013 Program is expected to improve the customs system in the following ways:
by enhancing the implementation and modernization of the customs code;
by contributing to the development and management of paperless pan-uropean and trans-European electronic customs systems;
by initiation of the development of training tools available to all frontier administrations.
The new program is thought to be advantageous not only for the European businesses but also for European citizens, as the latter could benefit from the conformity of the newly established technological environment.
More information on the improvement of the Customs Union is available at:
On 12 April 2007, the Parliament adopted Law No X-1092 on Amending Article 65 of the Law on Electronic Communications. The Law sets forth that suppliers of public communication networks and providers of public electronic communication services will furnish, without prior consent of the subscriber or actual user of electronic communication services and subject to no compensation, the location information (including data flow) to the General Aid Centre.
Any costs related to acquisition, installation (adjustment), updating and support of hardware (and related software) which is not required for ensuring business activities of a supplier but necessary for location information (including data flow), will be compensated to public communication network suppliers and providers of public electronic communication services from the state funds, in the procedure prescribed by the Government. This Law will come into force on 1 September 2007.
On 20 March 2007, the Parliament adopted Law No X-1054 on Amending Law on Natural Gas. This Law governs gas prices both for domestic and non-domestic consumers. The Law prescribes that for non-domestic consumers gas supply and distribution prices will be fixed and differentiated on the basis of the amount and capacity of gas. For domestic consumers, gas distribution prices will be differentiated by the amount of gas consumed.
The principles of differentiation of the amount and capacity of gas are laid down in price fixing methods. Pursuant to the Law, seeking to avoid cross- subsidies the regulated prices and their differentiation must be made public among groups of consumers and the price fixing principles must be reasonable, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory. The regulated price ceiling is established for a period of five years.
The Law sets forth that such activities as transfer, liquefying, storage, distribution and supply of gas must be separated in gas enterprises. Gas supply activities should be separated through establishing a subsidiary or a separate enterprise. An integrated gas enterprise which supplies gas for less than 100,000 consumers is not obliged to separate types of activities and establish a subsidiary or a separate enterprise. Such activities as transfer, liquefying, storage and distribution of gas are allowed in a single gas enterprise. Other activities, which are not related to gas, must be separated through establishing a subsidiary or a separate enterprise. Such other activities and supply activities are permitted in a single gas enterprise.
All non-domestic consumers will become free consumers as of the date of this Law coming into force. From 1 July 2007, all consumers will become free consumers, i.e. as of 1 July 2007 the Law also entitles domestic consumers to choose a supply enterprise freely and subject to no compensation.
On 24 April 2007, the European Parliament adopted amendments to the Directive on Payment Services to be forwarded to the Council for final adoption. The Directive on Payment Services is expected to provide a uniform payment system and a set of standard rules for payment providers within 27 different Member States. The new system will ensure that payments, such as credit transfers, direct debits and card payments become as easy, efficient and secure as they are within the national systems of Member States.
In addition, it will allow all citizens and businesses to make payments throughout the whole EU electronically. Currently, the Payment Services Directive is applicable to the payers and payment services located in the EU and where the transactions are executed in EUR, but after the period of three years it is foreseen that the payer or the recipient will be able to transact the payment while being outside the EU and in other currencies than EUR.
More information on the uniform payment system is available at:
On 3 April 2007, the Commission presented a communication on improving the existing patent litigation system in Europe.
The results of the consultation launched in January 2006 with the stakeholders on their views on the existing European patent system identified that the current European patent litigation system is low-quality and costineffective. The Commission highlights that the European patent system is approximately 12 times more expensive than the US or Japanese systems. The aforementioned expensiveness is caused by the costs invested into litigation on national level when the rights of the European patent owner are infringed. Therefore, the Commission is considering the following alternatives:
establishment of a uniform jurisdiction for European patents - the European Patent Court;
establishment of an alternative dispute resolution systems or requirement for parties to engage in mediation, conciliation or arbitration prior to seeking judicial remedies;
establishment of the Community patent system which would have a jurisdiction in all the Member States.
It should be pointed out that the consensus of all aforementioned alternatives is also possible. The establishment of a unified and specialized patent judiciary with competence for litigation on European patents and future Community patents would insure the promotion of innovation, growth and competitiveness in Europe.
More information on the improvement of the European patent system is available at:
Annual vacations are calculated in calendar days excluding from their duration the national holidays specified in the Labour Code. The Supreme Court of Lithuania in its 11 April 2007 ruling in civil case No 3K-3-139/2007 R. G. v UAB Toksika has stated that annual vacations should be extended by a respective number of days if during vacations certain reasons prescribed in the Labour Code (e.g. temporary incapacity of an employee to work during annual vacations) appeared. The legislator, when establishing the duration of annual vacations and the order of calculation thereof, has discerned only national holidays without excluding weekly rest days (weekends) from annual vacations. The provisions of the Labour Code do not prescribe any rules or guarantees to a certain number of weekends. If the end of annual vacations falls on the weekend, such circumstance constitutes no ground to extend vacations due to an employees temporary incapacity to work, calculating in workdays, as in this case the order of calculation of annual vacations is not different. Consequently, as a result of an employees temporary incapacity to work annual vacations will be extended by a respective number of calendar days and not workdays.
Law firm Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas ir partneriai LAWIN together with the representatives of the building company Ranga IV and Artūras Zuokas, the former Mayor of Vilnius, signed a sponsorship agreement on granting 6 mln. litas support to Jonas Mekas Centre of Visual Art.
Based on the concluded agreement, UAB Ranga IV undertakes to allocate to Jonas Mekas Centre of Visual Art 5 mln. litas in support within 10 years, while the law firm Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas ir partneriai LAWIN will support the Centre by rendering legal services in the amount of up to 1 mln. litas within the next 10 years.
Such support is a significant input in the development of a world-important multifunctional cultural centre the partners of which will be such museums as the Hermitage and Guggenheim Museum. The sponsors of the Centre, UAB Ranga IV and the law firm Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas ir partneriai LAWIN, will have their representatives in the Sponsors Council of the Centre and will continue to take part in the important processes of its development and decision-making. The professionals of the law firm Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas ir partneriai LAWIN are responsible for the analysis of legal environment, drafting and negotiating of the Centres contracts with the Guggenheim Foundation and other parties of the project.
On the 17 April Dovilë Burgienė - attorney-atlaw of the law firm Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas ir partneriai LAWIN - was elected to the board of the British Chamber of Commerce for a two-year term.
The British Chamber of Commerce held its Annual General Meeting and also held an election to the board for 2007-2009.
Law firm Lideika, Petrauskas, Valiūnas ir partneriai LAWIN supports Lithuanias national group of the European Law Students Association (ELSA Lietuva) who organizes moot court competition STart every year. This year lawyers of law firm created the tasks for the competition, valuated works of the selective tour, judged in semi-finals and the final. The final of the moot court competition STart 2007 was held in the Grand Courtroom of the Court of Appeals of Lithuania on 5 May. Šarūnas Keserauskas and Karolis Kačerauskas, both lawyers from our firm, were the judges of the competition.
Laura Kriaučiūnaitė and Marius Tamošiūnas, students from Mykolas Romeris University took the first place and won the main prize an internship in the European Commission.
A representative may be empowered not only by clearly stating respective powers in an issued written power of attorney; such powers may be also implied in view of the relations existing between the parties and the circumstances under which a representative is acting. The Supreme Court of Lithuania in its 6 April 2007 ruling in civil case No 3K-3-147/2007 T. Þ. v J. V. V. personal enterprise has stated that in case of implied representation, if a person has given ground by his conduct for a third person to presume, reasonably and fairly, that he has designated another person as his representative, then any transactions concluded by such other person on behalf of the principal are binding on the principal, i.e. create civil rights and obligations for the latter.
On 3 April 2007, the Parliament adopted Law No X-1068 on Supplementing Article 8 of the Law on State Social Insurance. This Law establishes that social insurance payments will also not be deducted from insurance payments paid by the insurer to the benefit of employees for additional (voluntary) health insurance in cases where the object of insurance is the payment for the health services of the covered person. This Law will come into force on 1 July 2007.
On 28 March 2007, the Head of the State Tax Inspectorate by Order No VA-25 approved the Fine Setting and Default Interest Calculation Methodology. The Methodology contains explanations how the fines under the Law on Tax Administration or other respective tax laws should be imposed on, and default interest should be calculated in respect of, taxpayers who have infringed tax laws. The fine setting and default interest calculation provisions embodied in the Methodology will be applied both to a taxpayer and tax deducting person.
On 22 March 2007, the Parliament adopted Law No X-1061 on Amending Articles 11, 18 and 26 of the Law on Territory Planning. The Law sets forth that territory planning documents will come into force on the next day following the announcement of the decision of the authority which has approved such documents in the Official Gazette Valstybės Žinios or, depending on the level of, or the authority approving, a respective territorial planning document, in local press, and the entire territorial planning document, in view of its level, will be placed in the website of the Official Gazette Valstybės Žinios (www.valstybes-zinios.lt) or in the website of a respective municipality which has approved such document.
On 18 April 2007, the Commission adopted a communication on better market access in third countries for European exporters.
This Communication is intended to renew the EU Market Access Strategy launched in 1996 in relation to China, India, Brazil and Russia becoming the new EU trading partners. This partnership has brought to European exporters new significant obstacles: non-tariff and other so called behind the border barriers. The Communication now aims to break down the said trade barriers as well as to create new export opportunities on the basis of the following measures:
establishment of EU Market Access Teams in third countries which would give an "early warning" approach on initiated political barriers;
the emphasis on opportunities based on negotiations, global and bilateral trade rules;
improvement of the so called Commission's Market Access Database.
More information on the initiative regarding the communication on the better market access for European exporters is available at:
Silence of the other contracting party may be also qualified as fraud. The Supreme Court of Lithuania in its 3 April 2007 ruling in civil case No 3K-3-145/2007 UAB Ūkio banko investicinė grupė v G. B. has stated that fraud is the misleading of a person who enters into transaction in terms of material circumstances of such transaction. A transaction concluded by fraud may be recognised as null and void in cases where the other participant of the transaction or another person with the knowledge of the other participant of the transaction has committed the acts of fraud which have entailed the conclusion of the transaction, i.e. the transaction would not have been concluded but for the fraud. Notably, pursuant to the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania silence of the contracting party, i.e. concealment of the circumstances in awareness of which the other contracting party would not have entered into transaction, may also be considered as fraud if conforming to the principles of reasonability, justice and integrity such circumstances should have been disclosed to the other party, just like vigorous actions aimed at misleading the other contracting party in terms of effect, material conditions of the transaction, civil legal subjectivity of the person entering into transaction or other material circumstances. Thus, the recognition of a transaction as null and void is possible only if certain specific actions (omission) of the defendant have been identified as constituting the contents of fraud.