Baker McKenzie has successfully represented Google before the Court of Justice of the European Union in challenging the Austrian Communication Platforms Act, which it describes as "far-reaching content moderation legislation" aiming to regulate "large online platforms established in other EU member states."
Austria adopted the Communication Platforms Act in December 2020. "In light of a highly critical assessment of the European Commission concerning the compatibility of the legislation with EU law, a number of information society service providers (ISSPs), including Google, requested declaratory decisions from the Austrian regulatory authority on the applicability of the legislation. When the authority confirmed its applicability, these decisions were appealed through the courts up to the Austrian Administrative Supreme Court, which referred the matter to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling," Baker McKenzie reported.
According to the firm, on November 9, 2023, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that "an EU member state may not subject an ISSP established in another EU member state to general and abstract regulatory measures that deviate from measures of the member state in which the ISSP is established (C‑376/22). In doing so, it declared the Austrian Communication Platforms Act and, by implication, many other national online platform regulations, inapplicable to Ireland-based ISSPs."
"For the first time, the CJEU has established that the country-of-origin principle under the E-Commerce Directive broadly bars member states from regulating ISSPs established in other member states. Due to the supremacy of EU law, the country-of-origin principle, as now interpreted by the highest European court, automatically renders contravening national legislation inapplicable," the firm announced.
The Baker McKenzie team included Partner Lukas Feiler, Counsels Maximilian Raschhofer and Michaela Petsche, and Associates Alexander Hofmann, Silvia Grohmann, and Tim Robben.