Home > Legal Opinions tagged Intellectual Property

  • Innocent logo dispute provides much food for thought

    Peter Ellis

    Who owns the copyright in graphic work such as logos prepared by design agencies on behalf of their clients is not as straightforward as it might seem when the parties have not made their position clear at the outset of the relationship. Two companies faced prolonged and difficult litigation involving hearings at the European trade […]

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  • Topshop loses appeal against Rihanna in passing-off case

    Emma Fox

    Topshop has lost an appeal against a ruling of passing-off in relation to its sale of t-shirts bearing Rihanna’s image. There was no evidence from purchasers that they had believed the t-shirts were endorsed by Rihanna. However, as reported in our earlier article on this case relating to the appealed High Court judgment as the […]

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  • possible EU design right defence for spare parts manufacturers?

    Nicola Hill

    In a case involving Ford Motor Company concerning the unauthorised manufacturer of wheel trims bearing Ford’s trade mark, the Italian tribunal of Torino has requested a preliminary ruling by the CJEU (Case C-500/14). It has posed two questions, which essentially enquire whether Article 14 of Directive 98/71 and Article 110 of Regulation (EC) No.6/2002 (both […]

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  • "noted, with thanks” - the perils of negotiating settlement agreem...

    Laura Mackenzie

    A recent decision stresses the importance of expressly stating when a settlement offer is intended to be ‘subject to contract’ (ie not binding until a formal written agreement has been executed). In Bieber and others v Teathers Limited (in liquidation) the claimants accepted – via email – a settlement offer relating solely to the sum […]

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  • new copyright works enter the public domain

    Emma Fox

    As certain as death and taxes, the New Year welcomes a fresh pool of artists whose works are no longer protected by copyright in the UK. The 2015 list features Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’ and the musings of British poet and critic Edith Sitwell. The good news for the public is that from 1 […]

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  • standard essential patent – valid and infringed

    Mark Daniels

    The English High Court tackled the thorny issue of the alleged infringement of a ‘standard-essential’ patent, and has found for the patentee. Vringo Infrastructure Inc owns a patent (originally obtained by Nokia) relating to the process of soft handover of a mobile phone call between base stations when the phone moves between cells. The patent […]

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  • trade mark puzzle solved - Rubik’s Cube 3D CTM found valid

    Bonita Trimmer

    The community trade mark (CTM) for the shape of the famous Rubik’s cube puzzle has been found valid this week by the General Court. Simba Toys sought cancellation of Seven Town’s CTM on various grounds including that the mark consisted exclusively of the shape of goods “which is necessary to obtain a technical result” and […]

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  • ‘Golden Balls’ CTM saga: differing degrees of similarity

    Laura Mackenzie

    Last year we reported on the General Court’s decision that, on a global consideration of the trade marks ‘Golden Balls’ and ‘Ballon D’or’, their visual and phonetic differences (despite their minimal conceptual similarities) meant they were not ‘similar’ under Art 8(1)(b) CTM Regulation 2007/2009 (requiring identical/similar marks for identical/similar goods and a likelihood of confusion) […]

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  • Marks & Spencer’s hopes bloom anew

    Nicola Hill

    The internet keywords case Interflora v M&S has come full circle with the Court of Appeal (CA) referring it back to the High Court for a re-trial. This saga began in 2008, when M&S purchased ad-words which resulted in its floristry ads being displayed when a user searched for ‘interflora’ on Google. Interflora alleged trade […]

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  • renting an orphan – new UK licensing scheme

    Declan Cushley

    A new UK licensing scheme for orphan works has been launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The scheme enables you to apply for a licence to make use of at least 91 million creative works, some of cultural importance including photographs, diaries, films and recordings, which have previously been effectively unavailable as […]

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  • website blocking order awarded to combat trade mark infringement

    Declan Cushley

    Mr Justice Arnold in the High Court has awarded Cartier, Montblanc and Richemont an order requiring defendant Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block or impede access by subscribers to six websites advertising and selling counterfeit goods and thereby infringing the claimant’s trade marks. Similar orders have previously been made for copyright infringement under s97A of […]

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  • finding of 'genuine use' ends the Specsavers trade mark saga

    Annabel Sinclair

    The Court of Appeal has concluded that Specsavers’ extensive use of its green shaded logo mark containing the word Specsavers in white also constitutes ‘genuine use’ of its wordless logo mark (two overlapping ovals registered in black and so in respect of all colours). Specsavers’ wordless mark will therefore remain on the register. This is […]

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  • copyright law now has a sense of humour

    Jude King

    On 1 October 2014, The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014 come into force which introduce new copyright infringement exceptions including a specific exception granting the right to parody. The new regulations will extend the fair dealing exception to copyright infringement to include use for the purposes of caricature, parody or […]

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  • no just ‘desserts’ for product shape trade mark

    Laura Mackenzie

    To be registrable a trade mark must not be devoid of any distinctive character; a hurdle that can be overcome if the mark has acquired a distinctive character as a result of its use. Yesterday the EU General Court dismissed an appeal against a decision that a three-dimensional Community trade mark (CTM)for shape of the […]

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  • CJEU considers parody exception in Deckmyn case

    Emma Tuck

    Art. 5(3)(k) of the Infosoc Directive (regarding protection of copyright) provides that member states may provide an exception to the exclusive rights of reproduction and communication granted to an author, in cases of “use for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche“. The exception was implemented under Belgian law. However, because the Infosoc Directive requires […]

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  • National Gallery selfies – art or infringement?

    Nicola Hill

    Significant press attention has surrounded the National Gallery’s recent decision to permit visitors to photograph their artworks using mobile phones. Media focus has been on diminishing cultural values and damage through flash photography. But what about the copyright angle? The truth is, copyright in much of the permanent collection has long-since expired. End of story? Actually […]

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  • Police to place anti-piracy warning ads on illegal sites

    Alex Watt

    BBC news reports reports that the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) are intending to place banner adverts on websites offering content that is believed to be illegal. The initiative makes use of technology provided by Project Sunblock, swapping paid-for advertising with warnings about piracy asking users to close their browser; “When […]

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  • trade mark surveys not quite dead

    Laura Mackenzie

    The value of survey evidence in trade mark and passing off disputes has been called into question following criticism of this evidence method in a number of high profile cases, not least in the M&S v Interflora litigation. The message from the judiciary in this case was that a survey should only be admitted if […]

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  • ICO’s annual report announces growth in data protection complaints

    Richard Roberts

    In its annual report, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has revealed a record number of data protection and freedom of information complaints in the financial year 2013-2014. Following this year’s revelations by Edward Snowden, and the continued growth of ‘big data’, the cloud and social networking, the report shows a 10% year on year increase […]

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  • can the layout of a retail store be registered as a trade mark?

    Laura Mackenzie

    In a potentially ground-breaking decision the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed (in response to an application by Apple Inc. for a device mark depicting its flagship store design) that – subject to certain notable caveats – a representation that depicts the layout of a retail store by means of an integral […]

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