Merck & Co. v. Stephar B.V.

Case C-187/80 (1981)

From our private database of 46,000+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Merck & Co. v. Stephar B.V.

European Communities Court of Justice
Case C-187/80 (1981)

Facts

Merck & Company, Inc. (Merck) (plaintiff) owned two patents in the Netherlands for the drug Moduretic. Merck sold Moduretic in Italy, where Merck did not have a patent for the drug because, at that time, Italian law did not allow patents for drugs. Both Italy and the Netherlands were member states of the European Economic Community (EEC). The law in the Netherlands gave a legal remedy to a patent owner against another party selling the patent-protected product in the Netherlands, even if the holder of the patent marketed that product for sale in another member state. Stephar BV (defendant) purchased Moduretic in Italy and imported it for sale in the Netherlands. Stephar argued that under the provisions of the EEC Treaty concerning the free movement of goods, once a patent owner offered a patented product for sale in a member state in which the product was not patentable, the importation and sale of that product was permitted in a member state in which the product was protected by patent. The court in the Netherlands referred a question for a preliminary ruling under the EEC Treaty to the European Communities Court of Justice concerning the relationship between the treaty’s free-movement-of-goods provisions and the treaty’s provision governing member states’ national laws protecting industrial and commercial property.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mertens de Wilmars, C.J., Pescatore, Stuart, Koopmans, O’Keeffe, Touffait, Due, Everling, Chloros, J.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 742,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 742,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,000 briefs, keyed to 986 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 742,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,000 briefs - keyed to 986 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership