Home > Legal Opinions tagged Intellectual Property

  • patent litigation - approach summary judgment / strike out with ca...

    Mark Daniels

    Swift resolution of patent disputes is key to minimising significant unnecessary costs and uncertainty. However, it is rare that patent infringement proceedings are suitable for summary judgment or strike out. So it was proved in a recent case before the English High Court. Unwired Planet sued a number of telecommunications equipment providers, including Huawei and […]

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  • Patents Court paves the way for greater transparency in patent lic...

    Alex Watt

    The Patents Court has made an order for pre-action disclosure of patent licences. This is a significant decision which could have broad implications for the patent licensing market. Ticketogo sent the Big Bus Company letters claiming infringement and offering a licence of its patent, repeatedly referring to similar licences that a number of Big Bus’s […]

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  • ASOS saved from infringement by own name defence

    Emma Fox

    Online fashion giant ASOS has successfully defended the latest phase of a trade mark infringement claim brought by cycling clothes manufacturer Assos. The Court of Appeal held, by a 2:1 majority, that ASOS could rely on an ‘own name defence’. This saved ASOS from infringement as the court had concluded ASOS’ use of their house […]

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  • Scramble v Scrabble - a surprising lack of confusion?

    Dave Holt

    The Court of Appeal case between Mattel and Zynga has confirmed that Mattel’s ‘Scramble’ CTM was valid and not descriptive of what was required in the game or in common usage for word games and therefore that Zynga’s use of ‘Scramble’ infringed it. LJ Floyd held that the similarity between the marks ‘Scramble’ and ‘Scrabble’ […]

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  • swearing in advertising

    Alex Watt

    **Contains strong language** The Committees of Advertising Practice have published a short report on swearing in ads. The report underlines the importance of an advert’s context, medium, audience and product, as understood within the standards set by the Code under section 4.1. One of their examples was a complaint raised regarding a Booking.com ad, which […]

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  • 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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