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IP in the News- 24 November 2016 (Updated)

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Summary: Our regular update on developments in the world of IP, this week featuring a ruling by the CJEU on the freedom of Member States to introduce laws which give collecting societies the right to grant licences for digital copies of out of print works without the express permission of the author, a judgment ordering damages against a football agent for inducing breach of contract and another judgment on choosing brand names which are too descriptive.

Collective licensing and copyright

The CJEU has ruled that Member States are not permitted to introduce laws which give collecting societies the right to grant licences for digital copies of out of print works without the express permission of the author. The case concerned French law which gives collecting societies such a right, subject to the author objecting within 6 months (the Marc Soulier case).

Damages and breach of contract

A football agent has successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal in a case involving commission due to him under an oral contract with a Premier League football relating to his transfer from Aston Villa to Bolton. The court held that the agent was entitled to damages for inducement to breach his contract with the footballer by another agency, which the trial judge must now assess based on the probability that the likelihood of the agent having earned commission on the transfer was no more than 50% (the Anthony McGill case).

Descriptiveness and trade marks

A warning on choosing brand names which are too descriptive. The EU General Court has upheld a refusal to register the name and logo of the well-known coffee house chain Caffè Nero as EU trade marks because they would be seen as descriptive of black coffee, particularly to Italian speakers. The rectangular blue logo did not improve the position because the elements were considered to lack any distinctive character as they were largely common and did not convey an immediate and lasting impression.

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