The CJEU as an Innovator – a New Perspective on the Development of Internet Related Case-law
In this paper I will use concepts from innovation theory to analyse the work of the Court of Justice of the European Union in its important role as sole interpreter of EU law. In that regard, I define ‘innovator’ as one that facilitates use of new or existing inventions. Thus innovation is portrayed as a process in which several actors may contribute and where it all starts with an invention (the solution) and it ends with the innovation (the process of making use of the invention). The Court of Justice of the European Union may be an inventor in as much as it is allowed to invent solutions in order to solve new or existing problems, and it may be innovative in as much as it hands down judgments that shall be followed (i.e. it makes use of the invention).
The substance of the paper deals with case-law from the Court of Justice of the European Union in the field of cross-border infringements. The cases will be analysed in relation to the idea that legal decision-making can be described as an innovative process. An approach like this makes it possible to draw conclusions regarding the Court of Justice of the European Unions ability to innovate. It will be apparent that the Court is primarily concerned with so called reactive innovation (i.e. innovation that builds on existing knowledge). Only in exceptional circumstances do we find examples where the Court has proved to conduct in proactive innovation (i.e. inventing and applying new solutions) and this may, according to the author, prove to be a preferred standard. Better to drive safely than to drive in the ditch.
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