Ellex defended interests of the global review platform Trustpilot in Lithuania
The Ellex in Lithuania Dispute resolution lawyers successfully represented its client trustpilot.com, a global consumer review platform, in civil proceedings of appeal instance regarding international jurisdiction and removal from the website of information damaging business reputation.
The proceedings started in 2018 when the claimants, a Singapore-based company of ambiguous reputation – payment platform, and a Lithuania-based its subsidiary, brought an action against the defendants represented by the law firm, the Danish company administering the review platform and its Lithuania-based subsidiary, for removal of information allegedly damaging the claimants’ business reputation (negative consumer reviews on the website), cancellation of the account in the review website and injunction to stop the use of their name.
The case dealt with complex issues of jurisdiction and substantive law. The proceedings at first instance lasted for more than three years, the dispute for the jurisdiction reached the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which gave an interpretation of the rules in the Brussels I-bis Regulation favourable to our clients, and in the course of the proceedings, important procedural successes were achieved, including the exclusion of one of the claimants from the proceedings.
After hearing the action, the first instance court dismissed it in its entirety and taking account of the complexity of the case, awarded almost EUR 40 thousand of the litigation costs for the benefit of Ellex’s client. After hearing the appeal of the remaining claimant, the appeal court accepted the defendants’ arguments and upheld the judgement of the first instance court. The court confirmed inter alia that Lithuanian courts have no jurisdiction over claims in respect of the Danish company administering the consumer reviews platform.
Such interpretation of the appeal court fully corresponds to the newest case law of the European Union Court of Justice of December 2021 under which if a person considers that his rights were infringed through the dissemination of defamatory content on the internet such person can seek damages inflicted by such person in a Member State before courts of each Member State in which such content was available. These courts, however, have no jurisdiction over the claim for correction and removal of the information. Such claims fall only within the jurisdiction of courts of the Member State where the claimant has the centre of its main interests.
In the project, the client trustpilot.com was represented by senior associates Agnė Kisieliauskaitė and Rapolas Kasparavičius, associate Ieva Mikučiauskaitė and partner Ramūnas Petravičius of Ellex in Lithuania.