On 1 May 2019 important changes of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice entered into force. It relates to decisions of an independent Board of Appeal of one of the following Offices and Agencies of the EU, namely of
- the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
- the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)
- the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and
- the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (ESA).
While in the past an appeal against a judgment of the General Court was regularly possible, Art. 170a of the Rules of Procedure now requires in those cases that were initiated with any of the EU Offices/Agencies mentioned above that the Appellant shall annex to the appeal a request that the appeal be allowed to proceed. In such a request the issue raised by the appeal that is significant with respect to the unity, consistency or development of the European Union law has to be set out clearly. It must contain all the information necessary which allows the Court of Justice to rule on that request. The request must not exceed 7 pages.
If such a request will not accompany the appeal to the European Court of Justice, the Vice President of the Court shall declare the appeal inadmissible.
It is then up to the Court of Justice to rule on the request that the appeal be allowed to proceed. A decision will be taken on a proposal from the Judge-Rapporteur and after hearing the Advocate General by a Chamber specially established for deciding on the allowance of appeals.
This “filter” has been introduced into the Rules of Procedure in particular with regard to the increasing number of appeals filed in European trademark and design matters. It remains to be seen how restrictively this possibility will be applied by the Court of Justice.