IP Two Minute Monthly - April 2013

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Here are our summaries for last month which shouldn’t take you more than two minutes to read. If you would like further details on any of the issues we have highlighted, please let us know by using the contact link on the left hand side.

INTERNET BROWSING AND COPYRIGHT

The Supreme Court decided to refer questions relating to our case for the Newspaper Licencing Agency against Meltwater to the European Court.  The Court considered that accessing and reading a newspaper article on a newspaper publisher’s website fell within the temporary copying exception such that an end user of an online media monitoring service did not infringe copyright when they clicked on a hyperlink to read the article on their computer. However, given the importance of the issue across Europe, the Court referred the issue to the European Court for guidance.

CHANGES IN UK IP LAW

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which has now been passed, introduces a number of changes to UK IP law, including extending the duration of copyright protection for artistic works from 25 years to 70 years after the creator’s death.  In particular, this will bring back into copyright certain well-known furniture designs which replica furniture companies have been copying for years.  The Bill also provides for the introduction of new copyright exceptions such as for private copying and fair dealing, and provisions relating to orphan works and extended collective licensing.

SHAPES AND TRADE MARKS

The European Court has rejected an application to register the shape of a bottle used for selling mineral water on the ground that such bottles often have ribbed surfaces similar to those shown in the application. The case demonstrates that it can often be difficult to show that 3D marks are distinctive.

ADWORDS AND TRADE MARKS

On the first day of the trial in Interflora v Marks & Spencer, where the Court had to consider the ECJ’s guidance over the extent to which a reasonable internet user would be able to determine the origin of goods/services from an advert displayed using an adword following an internet search, the Judge allowed reliance on articles relating to consumers’ knowledge of how the internet works. Marks & Spencer unsuccessfully argued that the evidence amounted to expert evidence and therefore required a formal expert’s report.  We will report on the final judgment in next month’s issue.

REPLACEMENT PARTS AND PATENTS

Hot on the heels of the Shutz Supreme Court ruling we reported on last month, that ruling has been applied in favour of Dualit who can continue supplying replacement coffee capsules for use in Nespresso machines.  The capsules were consumables and users of the machines did not repair or make the patented product (the patent protected the whole machine complete with capsule) when they used it.  As such, Dualit did not infringe the patent by supplying the capsules to consumers.

NEWSPAPERS AND TRADE MARKS

News International were unsuccessful in their trade mark application for SUN ON SUNDAY to the extent that it covered newspapers.  A North East regional newspaper called SUNDAY SUN was found by the Registry to have earlier rights and there was a likelihood of confusion between the two marks, even though one was a regional paper and the other national.

PUBLISHING AND DEFAMATION

The publishers of Amanda Knox's book Waiting To Be Heard have delayed its launch in the UK indefinitely due to concerns over libel issues.

GOOGLE AND DATA PROTECTION

The Information Commissioner's Office has launched an investigation into Google's recent acts of combining personal data from over 60 different services into one profile for individuals.

SUPER PATENTS

The UK IP Office has issued a consultation on the introduction of a new super patent which could be obtained in as little as 90 days for the payment of an additional fee. A typical patent application currently takes between 2 and 5 years.

RESALE OF DIGITAL MUSIC FILES

A US Court has held that the resale of a digital music file by ReDigi, the pre-owned music website, is an infringement of copyright, because a new copy of the file has to be made. This goes against the US Supreme Court’s decision we reported last month in the Supap Kirtsaeng case which found that the re-sale of books imported into the US did not infringe copyright because those rights had been exhausted.

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