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IP in the News- 6 December 2016

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Summary: Our regular update on developments in the world of IP, this week featuring the commencement of invalidity proceedings against the trade mark for the word “Iceland” owned by Iceland, the British supermarket chain, the proposed ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement by the UK government and Duran Duran’s loss of their copyright case to recover the US copyright in their first three albums.

Brand names, Countries and Trade Marks

Iceland, the country, has commenced invalidity proceedings against the trade mark for the word “Iceland” owned by Iceland, the British supermarket chain.

UPC and Patents

The UK government has confirmed that it will ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, thereby allowing the process to continue towards a single European-wide patent and a single EU patent court. It remains to be seen whether the rules will be amended to allow the UK to continue to participate post-Brexit.

Music and Copyright

Duran Duran lost their test case to try to recover the US copyright in their first three albums in accordance with the US right of reversion after 35 years. The UK High Court ruled that the terms of the contract entered into by the band when they were teenagers prevailed, as the intention of the parties at the time the contract was entered into was that their publishers would own the copyright for its full term. It appears to be relevant that the band had to exercise the option to serve notice of reversion, rather than US law automatically reverting the copyright to them, so that the contract amounted to an implied agreement by the band that they would not exercise such an option.

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