EU: CJEU issues decision in Schrems v. Facebook
The Court of Justice of the European Union ('CJEU') issued, on 25 January 2018, its judgement in Maximilian Schrems v. Facebook Ireland Limited (Case C-498/16), in which it responded to the Austrian Supreme Court's request for a preliminary ruling in relation to the conditions under which the consumer forum may be invoked. Following the opinion of the Advocate General, Michal Bobek, the CJEU held that Schrems' professional activities did not entail the loss of his status as a consumer in relation to his private Facebook account. However, it also determined that the consumer forum cannot be invoked by a consumer seeking to assert the claims of others in the courts of the place where he/she is domiciled, as Schrems was seeking to do for other claimants residing in Austria, Germany and India.
Moreover, the CJEU highlighted that, in principle, the consumer forum applies only where the contract between the parties has been concluded for the purpose of a use of the relevant goods or services other than professional use. However, regarding services relating to a digital social network which is intended to be used over a long period of time, the CJEU noted that it is necessary to take into account subsequent changes in the use which is made of those services. The CJEU therefore concluded that an individual bringing legal action against such a service provider can do so only if the predominately non-professional use of those services has not subsequently become predominately professional.