A claim was brought by a French Company before the Tribunal de commerce de Paris after it allegedly suffered damages (for acts of unfair competition) by the German assignee of part of the business of a German company under insolvency proceedings (in Germany). The ‘German assignee’ challenged the jurisdiction of the French court on the basis of Article 3(1) of Regulation No 1346/2000, arguing that the dispute fell within the jurisdiction of the Amstsgericht Darmstadt (District Court, Darmstadt) as the court having opened the insolvency proceedings against the German company.
The Cour de cassation (Court of Cassation, France) decided to refer the following question to the Court for a preliminary ruling:
‘Must Article 3 of [Regulation No 1346/2000] be interpreted as meaning that the court which opened insolvency proceedings has exclusive jurisdiction over an action seeking to establish liability by which the assignee of part of a business acquired in the course of those insolvency proceedings is accused of misrepresenting itself as the exclusive distributor of the goods manufactured by the debtor?’
The answer to the question referred for a preliminary ruling is that Article 3(1) of Regulation No 1346/2000 must be interpreted as meaning that an action for damages for unfair competition by which the assignee of part of the business acquired in the course of insolvency proceedings is accused of misrepresenting itself as being the exclusive distributor of articles manufactured by the debtor does not fall within the jurisdiction of the court which opened the insolvency proceedings.