IP In The News – 28 May 2015

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Summary: Our regular update on developments in the world of IP, this week featuring a case where the German Federal Supreme Court upheld IP rights over the rights of freedom of expression, the UK Courts continue to grant blocking injunctions against copyright infringing material, a US patent could amount to a relevant prior disclosure of a similar design within the EU and a case involving the UK government over its plans to introduce plain packaging legislation for tobacco.

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Parody and trade marks


Puma failed to see the funny side of the parody of their famous Puma logo showed below, and the German Federal Supreme Court upheld Puma’s IP rights over the defendant’s rights of freedom of expression.

Blocking injunctions and copyright


The UK Courts continue to grant blocking injunctions requiring ISPs to block access to websites containing copyright infringing material. The latest case was taken by the Publishers Association in respect of over 10,000 infringing eBooks available on 7 websites.

Prior art and community designs


The General Court (in the Senz case) had to decide whether a US patent could amount to a relevant prior disclosure of a similar design which “could reasonably have become known to the persons forming part of the circles specialised in the sector concerned” within the EU. The answer was that it did, despite the fact that no umbrellas had ever been made to the design shown in the US patent, because umbrella designers would have been expected to have searched the US patent register, particularly where as in this case the umbrella design in question was designed to be wind-resistant.

Plain packaging legislation and brands


Japan Tobacco International, which owns the brands Camel, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut has commenced court proceedings against the UK government over its plans to introduce plain packaging legislation for tobacco. Registered trade marks become vulnerable for cancellation if they are not used for a continuous period of 5 years, so valuable IP assets could be at stake.

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