28. Dec 16

CJEU confirms ban on cosmetic testing on animals

In its ruling of September 21, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed that cosmetics which were produced with the help of animal testing are subject to a widespread sales ban within the EU (Az.: C-592/14).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Cosmetics need to comply with certain requirements if they are to be approved. For instance, cosmetics ingredients are not allowed to pose a risk to human health. The Regulation on Cosmetic Products prohibits placing products on the market containing ingredients which, in order to meet the requirements of this Regulation, have been the subject of animal testing. In its recent ruling, the Court of Justice held that it is irrelevant whether animal testing was necessary to obtain approval for the products in question in third countries, nor is it important whether the tests on animals were conducted outside of the EU.

The case in Luxembourg concerned a legal action brought by a trade association. Three companies belonging to the association carried out animal testing outside of the EU for the purposes of being able to market cosmetics containing particular ingredients in Japan and China. The association sought to clarify whether it was also possible to place these products on the British market or if the companies would render themselves liable to prosecution in doing so. The association took the view that tests carried out on animals would not constitute a violation of the Regulation on Cosmetic Products if they were conducted in order to comply with third countries’ legal provisions. The British courts requested that the CJEU clarify this issue.

The CJEU ruled that the Regulation is aimed at ensuring a high level of health protection for humans in the context of approving cosmetics. At the same time, the ban on animal testing is intended to secure the welfare of animals. Approval for the EU market is thus linked to the ban on animal testing. The Court went on to say that it is insignificant whether the tests were necessary for obtaining approval in third countries and conducted outside of the European Union. Otherwise, it would be possible to circumvent the EU regulations and carry out the tests in third countries.

Lawyers who are versed in the field of intellectual property law can offer companies advise as well as assist in enforcing or fending off claims arising from infringements of competition law.

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