Brussels, March 2017

Simont Braun assisted the Brussels-based FinTech mozzeno on the launch of the first Belgian digital platform enabling individuals to participate indirectly in the funding of other individuals’ consumer loans.

In evolving to a Single Digital Market, the use of consumer data becomes more and more important for service providers. With regard to financial institutions, exploiting payment data is of particular interest, not only to reduce costs and improve product quality, but also to offer new and innovative financial services and, in general, an increased customer experience. The access to and the control over such data is therefore crucial.

One of the ways by which the EU legislator wants to promote this is by mandating banks to “open up the bank account” to external parties. This is often referred to as the ‘access to account’ rule (‘XS2A’) which is for instance embodied in the revised Directive on payment services in the internal market (PSD2”).

Also from a consumer’s perspective, Europe wants to further strengthen a person’s control over his personal data and support the free flow of such data. This is one of the goals of the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), and in particular the new “right to data portability”.

The GDPR applies from 25 May 2018. In order to bring further clarification for undertakings implementing it, the Working Party 29 (“WP 29”) recently published several guidelines. One concerned the right to data portability.

This article intends to give an overview of the most important points elaborated by WP 29 and, although the scope of this right concerns personal data in general, give particular attention to the portability of bank account information.

BAWAG PSK Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft und Österreichische Postsparkasse AG (‘BAWAG’) is a bank operating in Austria. It offers contracts for internet e-banking to its customers. One of the provisions in the general terms in such e-banking contracts grants BAWAG the right to communicate ‘notices of changes’ to the customer through the internal mailbox of its internet e-banking system. The Verein für Konsumenteninformation, a consumer association, requested BAWAG to cease the usage of these terms as it would not comply with the duty of a payment service provider (“PSP”) to  provide information on a ‘durable medium’ as set out in Directive 2007/64 on payment services (“PSD”).

To this regard, the Supreme Court of Austria addressed two questions to the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) for a preliminary ruling.

On 26 January 2017 the ECJ delivered its judgment.

This news analyzes the ECJ’s ruling and compares it to an earlier decision of the court regarding the same notion of ‘durable medium’.

With effect as of January 1st, 2017, the Act of 25 December 2016 (known as the “Pot-Pourri IV Act”) amended among other things certain provisions of Part Six (i.e. articles 1676 to 1723) of the Belgian Judicial Code. This Part Six contains the provisions on arbitration (the so-called “Belgian Arbitration Act” or “BAA”).

The amendments are mostly a matter of fine-tuning, clarification and simplification. Still, some of them are noteworthy.

La CCT 103ter, adoptée par le Conseil national du travail le 20 décembre 2016, harmonise et adapte certaines règles relatives au droit au crédit-temps. Nous passons les principales en revue ci-après.

SIMONT BRAUN a le plaisir de vous annoncer que Jacques Malherbe a rejoint, le 1er janvier 2017, en qualité de Of Counsel, Lievin De Wulf (associé) et Martina Bertha (Of Counsel) au sein du département de droit fiscal.

Jacques Malherbe bénéficie d’une grande notoriété dans le domaine du droit fiscal qu’il a enseigné à l’UCL de 1970 à 2005, et qu’il enseigne encore actuellement dans plusieurs universités à l’étranger. Il est l'auteur de nombreuses publications en droit fiscal. Il conseille des clients belges et étrangers dans tous les domaines de la fiscalité. Outre ses activités de conseil, Jacques Malherbe est également actif dans la pratique du contentieux et de l'arbitrage en matière fiscale et financière.



Rupture pour force majeure médicale et trajet de réintégration

Un nouveau cadre juridique a été récemment élaboré pour accompagner les travailleurs en incapacité de travail de longue durée vers une reprise (plus rapide) du travail, éventuellement adapté, ou vers une reprise d’un autre travail.

Dès le 1er janvier 2017, un trajet de réintégration pourra ainsi être initié, par ou pour les travailleurs qui ne peuvent plus exécuter, temporairement ou définitivement, le travail convenu.

Par ailleurs, la possibilité de mettre fin à un contrat de travail pour force majeure a également été modifiée dans ce nouvel ensemble de lois (l’arrêté royal du 28 octobre 2016 relatif à la réintégration des travailleurs en incapacité de travail et la loi portant des dispositions diverses en droit du travail liées à l’incapacité de travail du 20 décembre 2016).

Lire la suite : pdfDecembre_2016_News_trajet_de_réintégration_force_m_01990907.pdf

Curing rules on parallel import of pharmaceuticals?

CJEU and Belgian Supreme Court on the interaction between free movement of goods and trademark rights

On November 7, 2016 the Belgian Supreme Court (Cour de cassation – Hof van cassatie) gave judgment in two cases regarding the repackaging of pharmaceuticals, wherein it ruled in favour of the parallel importer with respect to the exhaustion of trademark rights principle. Simont Braun represented with success the defendant in these two cases.

Just three days later, on November 10, 2016, the CJEU gave a preliminary ruling on a question submitted by a Danish court in a similar case.

All three cases dealt with the issue whether a trademark owner can oppose the parallel import of trademarked pharmaceuticals of which the packaging format has been modified.

The Belgian proceedings concerned the medicine ‘Cozaar’, containing the active component ‘Losartan’ in a dose of 50 milligram in one case and a dose of 100 milligram in the other case, both manufactured by Merck and imported by Pi Pharma into Belgium from Poland. In both proceedings Pi Pharma bought the most common Polish packaging format of 28 tablets and repackaged these in formats of 98 tablets for the Belgian market.

The new Belgian law on crowdfunding platforms of 18 December has been published in the Belgian Official Journal.

 Key features include:

  1. Alternative Finance Service: The introduction of a new type of financial service in the Belgian regulatory landscape. The service consists of commercializing, through an internet platform, investment instruments issued by entrepreneurs looking to attract financial means from the crowd.
  2. Alternative Finance Platform License: Next to traditional and already licensed entities such as credit institutions and investment firms, the new alternative finance service will be reserved for licensed platforms only. Candidates have to file a license application with the FSMA. Unlike other EU countries, Belgium has opted for a single license applicable on both lending based and equity based crowdfunding platforms. With the license come of course also rules of conduct to be complied with by the platforms.