SAP Alicante of 1 February 2018 (ECLI: ES: APA:2018:489)

The company C3 Systems S.L. brought an action against the trading company Vejuma on the grounds of infringement of its EU trade mark and Spanish trade mark, and, in addition, an action for the declaration and the cease of acts of unfair competition. The factual grounds for both the action for trade mark infraction and the action for unfair competition consisted of the use by the defendant of the Seeglass and C3 Systems trade marks in the Google Adwords search system. None of this has been proven in the proceeding, but the court of instance judge allowed the claim for unfair competition on the grounds that the defendant, for use on its web page of a photograph that appeared in the 7th issue of the Seeglass One catalogue and orders the defendant to publish the verdict in two specialized journals, as well as to pay compensation for damages.

The judgment handed down on appeal revokes the court of first instance judgment due to inconsistency. In fact, according to Supreme Court case-law (Supreme Court judgment of 21 February 2014), cause of action must be interpreted to be the set of legally relevant facts serving as grounds for the claim, which furthermore serves as a limit to the judge’s authority, said limit being duly reflected in Art. 218 of Spanish Civil Procedure Law, where it is provided that the Court must issue a decision in accordance with the regulations that apply to the case, but without citing any factual or legal ground other than those that the parties wished to enforce in the proceeding.

The grounds cited in the judgment issued on appeal must logically be respected because even where there may be common claims in the case of bringing different actions, said claims may only be allowed based on the factual and legal grounds that correspond to the action that has in fact been brought.