Carlos G贸rriz L贸pez

Month: June 2017

Directive 2017/828 on the encouragement of long-term shareholders’ engagement

1. Introduction

On 20 May 2017, the Directive 2017/828 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 17 May 2017, amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It rules several issues that can be clustered in three groups: the improvement of the long-term engagement of the shareholders, the remuneration of directors and the transactions with related parties.

As the title implies, Directive 2017/828 amends Directive 2007/36/EC. In particular, it modifies paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Article 1 and point a) of Article 2. It adds paragraphs 3a, 5, 6 and 7 to Article 1; points d) to j) to Article 2; Chapter Ia (Articles 3a to 3f); Chapter Ib (Articles 3g to 3k); Articles 9a, 9b and 9c inside Chapter II; and Chapter IIa (Articles 14a and 14b). Obviously, both Directives share the scope. They apply to 鈥溾ompanies which have their registered office in a Member State and the shares of which are admitted to trading on a regulated market situated or operating within a Member State鈥 (Article 1, paragraph 1). The reason is that they are aimed to improve corporate governance and cross-border transactions.

There would be other European Union legislative acts that would be applied to the same companies; for instance, sector-specific rules regulating some types of enterprises. These laws should be considered lex specialis and, thus, should prevail over the Directive 2017/828. Nonetheless, whether the last one contains more specific provisions or imposes additional requirements, it should be applied in conjunction with the sector-specific rules, according to Article 1.7.

Although it should not be necessary to explain it, it is worth commenting that the Directive does not impose obligations on companies, directors or shareholders, but on Member States. The reason is the type of legislative act: Directives are not self-executing, but they need implementing provisions adopted by Member States.

2. Aim and content

The title of the Directive refers to the long-term shareholders鈥 engagement. It could be considered that it is its goal, but I humbly think that it is more a mean than an end in itself. The final aim of the European Institutions is improving the competitiveness and sustainability of the European firms. To achieve it, it is essential to have an effective corporate governance legal framework. One of the key elements is the medium- and long-term engagement of shareholders. Recital 14 of the Directive evidences the reason: 鈥淓ffective and sustainable shareholder engagement is one of the cornerstones of the corporate governance model of listed companies, which depends on checks and balances between the different organs and different stakeholders. Greater involvement of shareholders in corporate governance is one of the levers that can help improve the financial and non-financial performance of companies 鈥︹

It is not a new idea. We can already find it in the Action Plan 2012, which constitutes the legal background of the Directive. It explains that the financial crisis revealed some shortcomings of listed companies outside the financial sector. Two of the most important were the lack of shareholder interest in holding directors accountable for their decisions and the defective application of the corporate governance rules. Hence, the Action Plan announces some initiatives to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of companies that are grouped in three lines of action: enhancing transparency[1], engaging shareholders[2] and fostering the firms鈥 growth and effectiveness.

Regarding the content of the Directive, three issues are ruled: engagement of shareholders, remuneration of directors and transactions with related parties. They are all closely related, as a strong commitment of the shareholders is an irreplaceable weapon to fight against these two high-risk practices that can be very detrimental for the health of the company, as the past financial crisis evidences. The key points are information and approval. It is necessary that the company informs shareholders about the remuneration of the directors and the transactions with related parties and that they approve both of them in order to be valid and enforceable.

3. Long-term engagement

The Directive lays down some obligations on intermediaries, institutional investors, asset managers and proxy advisors in order to improve the engagement of shareholders. These obligations consist mainly in identifying the shareholders, disclosing information and easing the exercise of shareholders鈥 rights. They are inextricably linked. On the one hand, the company needs to know who their shareholders are to facilitate their participation in the corporative life. On the other hand, information regarding the intermediary charges, investment policy and advice鈥 criteria is essential to increase the awareness of the shareholders and beneficiaries of institutional investors and asset managers, as well as to boost their interest on the companies in which they have invested.

Intermediaries can represent a barrier between the company and the shareholders that hinders the engagement, because the last ones do not receive the suitable information, they have difficulties to exercise the corporate rights and they are not motivated to get engaged in the company. The difficulties increase when there is a chain of intermediaries. Hence, the Directive imposes several duties on them. Firstly, they must help the company to identify the shareholders, by submitting the data that can be required by the enterprise[3]. Secondly, they must publicly disclose information regarding the remuneration of their services. It is especially outstanding in relation to the cross-border exercise of rights. Whether the charges are unjustifiably different, they can be deterrent to cross-border investment and obstruct the efficient functioning of the internal market. Grounded on this reason, the Directive forbids discrimination: Member States shall ensure that the charges are non-discriminatory and proportional to actual costs. And thirdly, intermediaries must facilitate the exercise of the shareholders鈥 rights. The Directive refers particularly to the vote in the general meeting. Intermediaries should give shareholders the possibility to check that the votes have been validly recorded and counted by the company.

Normally, institutional investors and asset managers are not heavily involved in the functioning of the companies in which they have invested. Besides, capital markets normally exert pressure on enterprises to perform in short term. Among other consequences it can lead to a suboptimal level of investment. According to the Commission, the solution is to increase the awareness of investors. To achieve this goal, it is important to augment transparency and to align the interests of the final beneficiaries, of the institutional investors, of the asset managers with the interests of the investee enterprises. According to the European Institutions, it will be useful to change the approach of institutional investors and asset managers: from the short term to the medium or long one.

The Directive focus on the information of their investment strategies, according to the principle comply or explain. Articles 3g to 3k order institutional investors and asset managers to develop and publicly disclose an engagement policy, where they should describe how they integrate shareholders鈥 engagement in their investment strategy[4]. They should make and disclose two yearly reports: one explaining the implementation of the engagement policy and another that describes the relationship between the elements of their investment equity with the profile and duration of their liabilities. Besides, they must give information about their arrangements with the asset manager. These materials shall be available free of costs in their websites. Also, asset managers shall disclose, on annual basis, to the institutional investor how their investment strategy and implementation thereof complies with their arrangements and contributes to the medium- and long-term performance of the assets of the institutional investor or the fund.

Proxy advisors provide research, advice and recommendations on how to vote in general meetings of listed companies. Due to their importance regarding the behavior of investors, the Directive subjects them to transparency requirements[5]. Particularly, they must disclose the code of conduct they follow, how they have applied it, the essential elements and criteria used to prepare the research and to give advice and voting recommendations, as well as their policy regarding the conflicts of interest[6]. Again, all this information should be available free of charge in their website.

4. Remuneration of directors

The remuneration of directors is another key issue of Company Law. As the past financial crisis has again demonstrated, inadequate salaries can deprive the firm of essential resources or even lead it to bankruptcy. Therefore, the European Institutions consider essential that companies have a suitable remuneration policy, agreed by the competent bodies, that aligns the medium- and long-term interests of the managers with the ones of the owners of the firm. Besides, it is indispensable that it is strictly followed.

Therefore, the Directive orders companies to have a remuneration policy regarding directors. It should be established by agreement of the general meeting and contribute to the firm business strategy, taking into consideration its long-term interests and sustainability. The policy shall explain how it fulfills these requirements. Obviously, it is binding; i.e., directors can only be paid according to its rules. Notwithstanding, some exceptions are allowed. In order to strengthen its efficiency, the Directive orders that the remuneration policy is applied not only to a single company but to the remuneration in all the undertakings of a group.

Secondly, shareholders shall have the possibility to express their views. They shall have the chance to take part in the general meeting that approves the remuneration policy and also to vote the yearly remuneration policy鈥檚 report. Thirdly, transparency is a core rule in this field. On the one hand, the remuneration policy shall be made public in the company鈥檚 website. On the other, a yearly report shall be worked out, approved and disclosed. Member States shall ensure that the it has the form and content established in Article 9b. It is worth underlining that it shall give information regarding the remuneration of each single director. Consequently, some problems can arise regarding privacy and data protection (see points 2 and 3 of Article 9b). Article 9b .3 expressly establishes that the yearly remuneration report shall be publicly available on the company鈥檚 website for a period of 10 years.

5. Transactions with related parties

Transactions with related parties are an extremely sensitive subject. The reason is that they may give the related parties the opportunity to usurp value belonging to the company and deprive it of business opportunities. Being aware of this risk, the Directive focuses on two remedies: transparency and agreement. First of all, it is worth commenting that it does not define or enumerate the 鈥榤aterial transactions鈥. It orders Member State to do it. Nonetheless, point 1 of Article 9c establishes some guidelines and Article 2 .h defines 鈥榬elated party鈥 by remitting to the international accounting standards adopted in accordance with Regulation 1606/2002.

The first measure to neutralize the risk of these operations is transparency. It is important to allow stakeholders to be informed about the potential risks. The Directive asks companies to publicly announce these operations at the latest at the time of the conclusion of the transaction. It prescribes also the content of the announcement (Article 9c .2) and it orders the information to be complemented with a report assessing whether or not that business is fair and reasonable.

The second measure is the agreement of the firm鈥檚 owners 鈥搊r of its representatives. The Directive requires the transactions with related parties to be approved by the general meeting or by the administrative (or supervisory) body. In order to prevent related parties to take advantage of their position, they are not allowed to participate in the voting or agreement, despite being directors or shareholders[7]. Besides, the interests of the company and of minority shareholders should be taken into consideration.

6. Penalties, implementing acts and data protection

The effectiveness of the Directive requires punishing the breach of the obligations it establishes. Article 14b orders Members States to lay down the suitable measures and penalties. They should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Besides, Member States shall report them to the Commission.

Directive gives relevance to the Commission. On the one hand, it is empowered to approve implementing acts regarding the information on shareholders鈥 identity, on the exercise of their rights and on the voting of the remuneration report. The idea is to achieve uniformity to avoid differences in domestic laws that could hinder cross-border operations. On the other hand, the Commission shall submit reports on the implementation of the rules on intermediaries[8], on the engagement policy, on the investment strategy of institutional investors and arrangements with asset managers, on transparency of asset managers, as well as on the transparency of proxy advisors[9].

Lastly, the Directive orders to collect, transfer and disclose information to enhance the shareholders鈥 engagement, to control directors鈥 remuneration and to neutralize the damages that business with related parties can rise. This application of the transparency principle is essential to achieve the pursued aims. Nonetheless, it might create problems regarding privacy; for instance, when sensible personal data should be made publicly available. It is the case, for instance, of the remuneration of directors: sometimes, the family situation of the director is taken into consideration when fixing the salary. In order to resolve the doubts that could appear, it is important to take into consideration recital 52: 鈥淭his Directive should be applied in compliance with Union data protection law and the protection of privacy as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Any processing of the personal data of natural persons under this Directive should be undertaken in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679. In particular, data should be kept accurate and up to date, the data subject should be duly informed about the processing of personal data in accordance with this Directive and should have the right of rectification of incomplete or inaccurate data as well as right to erasure of personal data. Moreover, any transmission of information regarding shareholder identity to third-country intermediaries should comply with the requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/679鈥.

7. Transposition

The Directive has entered into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal; i.e. the 9 June 2017. It must be transposed into the national legal systems by the 10 June 2019. The Member States have two years to approve the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with their obligations. It is possible that some of them have yet taken steps to fulfill this duty. It is the case of Spain: The Act 31/2014[10] ruled, among other issues, on the remuneration of directors and on the transactions with related parties and incorporated some of the rules established by the Directive into de Spanish Corporate Enterprises Act.

 

 

 

 

[1] 鈥溾ompanies should be allowed to know who their shareholders are and institutional investors should be more transparent about their voting policies so that a more fruitful dialogue on corporate governance matters can take place.鈥

[2] 鈥溾hey [shareholders] should be offered more possibilities to oversee remuneration policy and related party transactions … In addition, a limited number of obligations will need to be imposed on institutional investors, asset managers and proxy advisors to bring about effective engagement.鈥

[3] The right of the company and the obligation of the intermediaries is excluded when the shareholders have a minimal participation (less than 0,5% of the capital).

[4] The Action Plan 2012 explains the reason: 鈥淒isclosure of such information could have a positive impact on investor awareness, enable ultimate investors to optimise investment decisions, facilitate the dialogue between investors and companies, encourage shareholder engagement and could strengthen companies鈥 accountability to civil society. Moreover, this information could be useful for investors before entering into a portfolio management contract or for beneficiaries of institutional investors acting on behalf of or for the benefit of others. In the light of its overall objective to engage shareholders, the Commission believes this to be the right step forward鈥.

[5] The Action Plan 2012 stresses three problems: their analytical methodology does not take into account company-specific characteristics or national rules, the conflicts of interest and the lack of competition in the sector.

[6] Id est, the essential features of the methodologies and models they apply; the main information sources they use; the procedures put in place to ensure quality of the research, advice and voting recommendations and qualifications of the staff involved; whether and, if so, how they take national market, legal, regulatory and company-specific conditions into account; the essential features of the voting policies they apply for each market; whether they have dialogues with the companies which are the object of their research, advice or voting recommendations and with the stakeholders of the company, and, if so, the extent and nature thereof; and the policy regarding the prevention and management of potential conflicts of interests.

[7] Nonetheless, see the special rules of Article 9c .4 subparagraph 2.

[8] Id est, on the identification of shareholders, transmission of information and facilitation of exercise of shareholders鈥 rights (Article 3f .2). The Commission shall prepare the report in cooperation with ESMA and the European Supervisory Authority.

[9] The last one, in cooperation with ESMA.

[10] Act 31/2014, 3 December, on modification of the Law on Corporate Enterprises for the improvement of corporate government.

Propiedad intelectual de las obras arquitect贸nicas (STS 253/2017)

Las obras arquitect贸nicas, en sentido amplio (edificio, planos, alzados, dibujos, etc.) son protegidas por la propiedad intelectual. As铆 lo establecen los art铆culos 2 del Convenio de Berna para la protecci贸n de las obras literarias y art铆sticas y 10.1.f de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual. Pero su car谩cter funcional exige que tengan 鈥榮ingularidad鈥 para ser protegidas, excluy茅ndose las construcciones 鈥榦rdinarias鈥. En la sentencia 253/2017, de 26 de abril, el Tribunal Supremo explica la raz贸n: 鈥淥torgar la protecci贸n de la normativa sobre propiedad intelectual concede a los autores, tanto en los derechos morales como en los derechos de explotaci贸n econ贸mica, a quienes proyectan edificios ordinarios, sin una m铆nima singularidad o distintividad, no solo responde al sentido y finalidad de las normas que regulan la propiedad intelectual sino que adem谩s traer铆a consigo consecuencias perturbadora para el propietario del edificio, por su car谩cter de obra funcional, destinada a satisfacer las necesidades que en cada momento tenga su propietario, cuyos derechos deben coexistir con los derechos del autor, como por ejemplo el derecho moral a la integridad de su obra鈥.

La singularidad u originalidad significa exigir a la obra una cierta novedad que permita distinguirla de otras preexistentes. Para valorarla hay que tener en cuenta que la funcionalidad de la obra arquitect贸nica, as铆 como la normativa aplicable, condicionan muchos de sus elementos y restringen la libertad creadora del arquitecto. Por lo tanto, no toda creaci贸n arquitect贸nica nueva es original ni susceptible de ser objeto de propiedad intelectual.

En cuanto a la interpretaci贸n de estos requisitos, el Tribunal Supremo explica la evoluci贸n de la jurisprudencia espa帽ola: 鈥淎unque en ciertas 茅pocas prevaleci贸 la concepci贸n subjetiva de originalidad (y este mismo criterio pueda ser aplicable en principio a algunas obras de caracter铆sticas muy especiales como es el caso de los programas de ordenador, art. 96.2 de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual), actualmente prevalece el criterio de que la originalidad prevista por el art. 10.1 TRLPI exige un cierto grado de altura creativa. Esta concepci贸n objetiva permite destacar el factor de recogniscibilidad o diferenciaci贸n de la obra respecto de las preexistentes, imprescindible para atribuir un derecho de exclusiva con aspectos morales y patrimoniales, lo que requiere que la originalidad tenga una relevancia m铆nima suficiente鈥.

En el caso objeto de recurso se discut铆a si el arquitecto que hab铆a elaborado el primer proyecto de un hotel, y colaborado en el segundo, ten铆a derecho a ser considerado 鈥渁utor鈥, junto a los dos arquitectos que hab铆an realizado el segundo y tercer proyectos. El TS lo niega dado que su aportaci贸n carec铆a de originalidad. Y afirma:

鈥淟a falta de originalidad de algunos elementos de la obra arquitect贸nica no impide la protecci贸n de las partes que s铆 re煤nan el requisito de la originalidad. Por ello, cuando se trata de una obra en colaboraci贸n en la que pueden distinguirse partes que re煤nen el requisito de la originalidad y partes que no lo re煤nen, y tales partes corresponden a arquitectos diferentes, aquellos que hayan realizado las aportaciones al proyecto arquitect贸nico dotadas de originalidad ser谩n considerados autores protegidos por la normativa sobre propiedad intelectual, y aquellos que hayan elaborado las partes carentes de originalidad no gozar谩n de tal consideraci贸n y protecci贸n, sin perjuicio de los derechos de naturaleza contractual que resulten del encargo recibido y del trabajo realizado para cumplirlo.鈥

Acci贸n individual de responsabilidad: necesidad de acto u omisi贸n del administrador

En la STS 274/2017, de 5 de mayo, el Tribunal Supremo se pronuncia sobre el requisito del acto u omisi贸n il铆cito del administrador respecto de la acci贸n individual de responsabilidad. Esencialmente afirma que debe tratarse de una conducta propia del gestor y no de la sociedad. Empieza calificando la responsabilidad como extracontractual y enumerando los requisitos que deben concurrir: 1) comportamiento activo o pasivo de los administradores; 2) comportamiento imputable al 贸rgano de administraci贸n en cuanto tal; 3) conducta antijur铆dica del administrador por infringir la ley, los estatutos o no ajustarse al est谩ndar o patr贸n de diligencia exigible a un ordenado empresario y a un representante leal; 4) conducta antijur铆dica susceptible de producir un da帽o; 5) da帽o directamente causado al tercero, sin lesionar los intereses de la sociedad y 6) relaci贸n de causalidad entre la conducta antijur铆dica del administrador y el da帽o directo ocasionado al tercero.

En la sentencia referida, el TS se centra en la necesidad de que exista un acto u omisi贸n del administrador. Explica que: 鈥(n)o puede identificarse la actuaci贸n antijur铆dica de la sociedad que no abona sus deudas y cuyos acreedores se ven impedidos para cobrarlas porque la sociedad deudora es insolvente, con la infracci贸n por su administrador de la ley o los estatutos, o de los deberes inherentes a su cargo鈥.

Afirma que concurre ese requisito en el caso: la conducta negligente del administrador consisti贸 en la salida injustificada de una elevada suma (teniendo en cuenta el patrimonio de la sociedad) del activo de la sociedad, que se encontraba en una situaci贸n de liquidaci贸n de hecho. Ese dispendio impidi贸 que la compa帽铆a pudiera pagar el cr茅dito de la demandante. Por lo tanto, tambi茅n resultaba acreditado el nexo de causalidad con el da帽o directo al acreedor de la compa帽铆a que formul贸 la demanda.

Usuario informado y deslealtad por asociaci贸n (STS 275/2017)

1. El litigio enfrentaba a dos fabricantes y comerciantes de souvernirs de cer谩mica, cuya t茅cnica y gama de colores evocaba los de Gaud铆. En la demanda se alegaba la infracci贸n de dise帽os industriales y marcas, as铆 como la comisi贸n de un il铆cito desleal por imitaci贸n. El demandado se opuso y en reconvenci贸n solicit贸 la declaraci贸n de nulidad de las marcas. En primera instancia se estim贸 la demanda, en relaci贸n con el dise帽o industrial y la deslealtad, pero tambi茅n la reconvenci贸n, anul谩ndose el derecho de exclusiva sobre los signos distintivos. La Audiencia Provincial dio un vuelco a la situaci贸n al desestimar totalmente la demanda y confirmar la decisi贸n sobre la nulidad de la marca. En la sentencia 275/2017, de 5 de mayo, el Tribunal Supremo ratifica la decisi贸n recurrida. Centra su atenci贸n en dos aspectos: el concepto de 鈥渦suario informado鈥 de la Ley del Dise帽o Industrial y la deslealtad por riesgo de asociaci贸n.

2. El Tribunal Supremo define el 鈥渦suario informado鈥 como un concepto intermedio entre el consumidor medio -criterio que toma en consideraci贸n la normativa de marcas- y el experto en el sector. Se trata de un usuario que presta un especial cuidado al adquirir los productos o servicios, bien por su experiencia personal bien por su amplio conocimiento del sector. Cita en su apoyo las sentencias del Tribunal de Justicia 20.10.2011 (C-281/10 P) y 18.10.2012 (C-101/11 P y C-102/11 P) y sus fallos SSTS 343/2014, de 25 de junio y 101/2016, de 25 de febrero.

En cuanto al litigio, el TS explica que la AP ten铆a dos opciones para valorar si los productos comercializados por la empresa demandada hab铆an vulnerado el dise帽o industrial del demandante. El primero era el del 鈥榗onsumidor medio鈥 y el segundo el de 鈥榣os comerciantes que declararon como testigos en el juicio鈥. Aplic贸 el segundo para valorar si el dise帽o de la parte demandada gozaba de singularidad. El TS bendijo esa decisi贸n: 鈥溾n un sector en el que el consumidor no se caracteriza por presentar un especial cuidado y atenci贸n, puesto que no concurre en 茅l la nota de la habitualidad ni la de la cualificaci贸n, es m谩s adecuado referir el concepto de usuario informado 鈥 a los comerciantes que venden este tipo de productos, pues presentan la nota de especial cuidado y atenci贸n en la observaci贸n del producto, sin ser propiamente dise帽adores ni expertos en el dise帽o鈥. Tambi茅n destac贸 que el demandante no pod铆a apropiarse de los elementos en que se parec铆an los dos dise帽os, pues pertenec铆an al dominio p煤blico: la t茅cnica del trencad铆s y la gama de colores caracter铆stica de Gaud铆. Darle la raz贸n al demandante supondr铆a permitirle monopolizar esos elementos.

3. En cuanto a la deslealtad por riesgo de asociaci贸n (art. 11.2 LCD), el TS comienza destacando que no se hab铆a imitado un signo distintivo sino una prestaci贸n. Para que existiera deslealtad en un supuesto semejante era necesario que la prestaci贸n fuera apta para evocar una determinada procedencia empresarial. Y eso exige que 鈥溾oce de singularidad competitiva por poseer rasgos que la diferencien de las prestaciones habituales en ese sector del mercado, de modo que sus destinatarios puedan identificarla y reconocerla y, en el caso de que la deslealtad de la imitaci贸n se funde en el riesgo de asociaci贸n, atribuirla a una determinada procedencia empresarial, diferenci谩ndola de las prestaciones habituales en el sector provenientes de otras empresas鈥. S贸lo existir谩 deslealtad si se copia un elemento o aspecto esencial, que presenta 鈥榮ingularidad competitiva鈥 o 鈥榩eculiaridad concurrencial鈥. No es el caso de las formas estandarizadas que son las generalmente utilizadas en el sector. Igual sucede cuando los signos distintivos de las prestaciones enfrentadas son diferentes.

Imitaci贸n desleal de prestaciones ajenas (STS 254/2017)

1. En la sentencia 254/2017, de 26 de abril, el Tribunal Supremo analiza un caso de imitaci贸n de prestaciones ajenas y concluye que es desleal al existir un aprovechamiento indebido del esfuerzo ajeno. Los hechos fijados por la Audiencia Provincial fueron los siguientes:聽鈥溾os planos de alto contraste visual sobre los que versa el litigio, destinados a permitir su consulta por personas con deficiencias visuales, constitu铆an una novedad ideada y creada por Zure Leku [demandante] que Nekar [demandado] conoci贸 al entrar en la web restringida de 茅sta y tomar conocimiento de las caracter铆sticas de estos planes mediante las claves que le proporcion贸 un tercero [un concejal del Ayuntamiento de Tudela] sin permiso de Zeru Leku. Nekar utiliz贸 exactamente los mismos colores, de entre las varias combinaciones posibles, y, lo que es m谩s relevante, la misma configuraci贸n gr谩fica al colocar cada color en los mismos lugares en que figuran en el plano elaborado por Zure Leku鈥.

2. El Tribunal Supremo confirma la decisi贸n de la Audiencia de que existi贸 imitaci贸n desleal. En cuanto al primer elemento, afirma que concurren los requisitos exigidos por la jurisprudencia para que exista imitaci贸n:

鈥渟e han copiado elementos esenciales, no accidentales o accesorios, con singularidad competitiva, de una creaci贸n material como es un plano de alto contraste con una determinada configuraci贸n gr谩fica en que se utilizan unos determinados colores para permitir su consulta por personas con deficiencias visuales, lo que le da un especial valor concurrencial cara a conseguir contratos de administraciones p煤blicas鈥.

3. La deslealtad en la imitaci贸n de prestaciones ajenas concurre cuando se cumplen dos exigencias: de un lado, un aprovechamiento del esfuerzo ajeno; de otro, su car谩cter indebido. La raz贸n reside en el principio de libre imitabilidad. Como toda copia supone, en cierto modo, prevalerse del esfuerzo de terceros, es necesario que concurra un plus. 鈥淟a deslealtad se justifica por el modo y la forma en que se llega a estar en condiciones de aprovechar esa prestaci贸n ajena objeto de imitaci贸n鈥. El TS explica que la jurisprudencia exige que se produzca un ahorro de costes no justificado. Se cumpl铆a ese requisito en el caso que se estaba juzgando.

鈥淓l hecho de que la demandada, una vez que tuvo acceso clandestino a la web restringida de la demandante, pudiera comenzar a incluir en su web planos de alto contraste desde el d铆a siguiente a la finalizaci贸n de tal acceso clandestino, y apenas una semana despu茅s de que se produjera el primero de tales accesos, indica que la imitaci贸n de la prestaci贸n ajena le supuso un ahorro de costes 鈥榤谩s all谩 de lo que se considera admisible para el correcto funcionamiento del mercado鈥, pudo limitarse a copiar la configuraci贸n gr谩fica de tales planos, sin incurrir apenas en gastos, y obtener los que coloc贸 en su p谩gina web en muy pocos d铆as.

La falta de justificaci贸n concurrencial de esta imitaci贸n con ahorro de costes inadmisible resulta no solo por el modo en que fue obtenido, sino porque adem谩s le permiti贸 hacer p煤blicos esos planos de alto contraste visual en su p谩gina web antes incluso de que lo hiciera Zure Leku, y presentarse ante los clientes, actuales y potenciales, como pionera en tal imitaci贸n鈥.

  1. El Tribunal Supremo no entra a valorar otros il铆citos desleales (violaci贸n de secretos, aprovechamiento de la infracci贸n contractual ajena e infracci贸n de las exigencias de la buena fe) porque no se cuestion贸 su aplicaci贸n en el recurso de casaci贸n.

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