An Alert to the Intellectual Property Bar

The Hague Judgments Convention

As communication technology increases at an ever-faster pace, multinational civil litigation becomes increasingly complex, especially in the intellectual property fields. Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss suggests that the current international standards for intellectual property protection in the Berne Convention, the Paris Convention, and the TRIPS Agreement are not able to tackle the problems presented. Because these agreements do not establish a uniform law, they do not prevent conflicting outcomes when litigants bring suits in multiple fora. These agreements leave unanswered questions of claim and issue preclusion as well as choice of law rules; and they do not provide for the consolidation of multiple claims.The proposed Hague Conference on Private International Law Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition of Foreign Judgments represents the international litigation community\'s recent efforts to develop means of streamlining multinational civil litigation and to solve some of the aforementioned problems. Although the Convention is geared toward general civil litigation, and negotiations have apparently stalled, Professor Dreyfuss suggests that it offers a significant hope for the future of multinational intellectual property litigation. Professor Dreyfuss uses the facts from the recent case of Twentieth Century Fox v. iCraveTV, to engage the reader in a hypothetical application of the Hague Convention, exposing the virtues and inadequacies of the proposed Convention as applied to an intellectual property case.Professor Dreyfuss briefly considers the larger question of whether one nation should be able to adjudicate intellectual property rights of another jurisdiction and decides that the demands of modern technology and law sometimes outweigh the strict territoriality approach that has heretofore governed. Then, drawing from the iCraveTV exercise, Professor Dreyfuss argues that the drafters of the Hague Convention could better address a number of issues important to intellectual property actions. Specifically, she looks at the scope of the Convention as it pertains to registered rights claims, questions regarding nonmonetary relief, and the need for the Convention to more explicitly deal with consolidating multistate litigation. Finally, Professor Dreyfuss suggests that the current draft of the Hague Convention does not sufficiently address the special jurisdictional problems that arise in connection with intangible property rights.*Professor of Law, New York University, School of Law; and Director, Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy

The full text of this Symposium is available to download as a PDF.