IPwars.com

Mainly intellectual property (IP) issues Down Under

IceTV in the High Court

The High Court has apparently granted special leave to appeal.  

Lid dip, Kim (who also has a link to David Lindsay‘s slides).

It can’t just be the “what is worth copying is worth protecting” rubric that requires reconsideration so maybe House of Commons is on to something with the injunction (presumably to database owners) to be afraid?  The transcripts seem to be running about 2 weeks behind. 

IPwars on the Full Court decision.  IPKat reviews Estelle Derclaye’s new text on sui generis database protection.

Is it a trade mark?

Sydney 2000?

Athens 2004?

World Cup 2006?

Beijing 2008?

According to OHIM’s Board of Appeal, World Cup 2006 and related labels like Germany 2006 are descriptive and lack distinctive character.  Accordingly, it ordered their registration as trade marks cancelled.  IPKat has more details here.

May be Parliament was on to something when it enacted the Olympic Insignia Protection Act 1987.

Imagine what would happen if someone did something like this to AFL Grand Final or Formula 1 Grand Prix?

ACTA DownUnder

It seems DFAT has been considering ACTA since December 2007.

An overview here and here.

Now, DFAT has called for submissions and has flagged these as interesting topics.

Lid dip, Cheng Lim.

Meanwhile, IPKat reports of a UK Intellectual Property Office consultation paper on penalties for copyright infringement.

IPKat also draws attention to some further EU perspective on counterfeiting here (scroll down to 7.2).

Suspending a trade mark opposition

On application by Darrell Lea, the Registrar suspended Darrell Lea’s oppositions to the registration of some purple trade mark applications by Cadbury purportedly pursuant to reg. 5.16.

Finkelstein J has now found that the Registrar does not have power to suspend oppositions indefinitely.

Given my involvement in matters purple, let me just refer you to Nicholas Weston’s consideration.

Darrell Lea Chocolate Shops Pty Ltd v Cadbury Limited [2008] ATMO 6 (15 January 2008)

Cadbury UK Ltd v Registrar of Trade Marks [2008] FCA 1126 (1 August 2008)

The sky is falling

with apologies to Chief Vitalstatistix:

ARIA’s half year figures for 2008 show that sales of recorded music are still falling – down 4% on the corresponding period last year.

But guess what, the decline in sales of physical copies is almost all set off by the rise in digital sales: 12 million digital tracks up from 8 million for the 6 month period last year.  

According to ARIA:

“… figures which demonstrate the beginning of a remarkable transition to a whole new economy that is still only in its infancy.”

Perhaps in a sign of gloom for music industry executives, a lot of these downloads were single tracks rather than albums, but digital albums still increased by 55%.

ARIA press release here; full stats here.

Upgrading

You may have noticed that IPwars has been more than usually missing.

This is mainly because the software for IPwars has become obsolete and I am attempting (so far, rather unsuccessfully) to transition to new software.

Please bear with me while this gets sorted out.

Patentable subject matter

A ‘manner of manufacture’ is something ‘more’ than a mere discovery or principle: it must be some thing or practical means of applying that principle in a field of economic endeavour (qua NRDC at e.g. [15] and [22]) and now, apparently, we have an example of a discovery or principle which was not patentable as being too abstract rather than a practical application …

I am not sure if what was discovered (at long last?) was the neutrino atom or the new science of the wonderfully named subtronics or pace claims 2 and 3 “a[ny] practical application of the newly discovered laws of electrical induction …”

IPKat has the run down here; the full application can be found here (enter 2003208113 into the application field but you might have to read and click the disclaimer here) and DC Spann’s decision here.

ACIP inquiry into Patentable Subject Matter still here.

Domain name disputes in Australia

Mark Bender, at Monash University, has written about domain name disputes in Australia …

According to the abstract:

The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the law in relation to domain name disputes involving trademarks that applies in Australia. Generally the focus of this paper will be confined to consideration of domain names ending with the .au suffix. An overview of the rights associated with domain names, registered business names and registered and unregistered trademarks is provided, as is an outline of the domain name dispute resolution processes and some some summary statistics and key cases in relation to domain name disputes.

The article has been published in the Monash Business Review vol.3 No. 3 (2007) and appears on SSRN here.

No doubt reflecting its business review audience, much of the article is taken up with discussing ways of protecting trade marks under Australian law and a flirtation with the 2000/2001 controversies over whether the UDRP is biased towards rights owners. Pp. 10 – 14 hit the .auDRP compared to the UDRP and flag some of the Australian court cases that I wasn’t aware of rather than a detailed analysis of the decisions under the .auDRP. A good starting point is CSR Ltd v. Resource Capital Australia Pty Ltd, 128 FCR 408.

Lid dip, Prof. Manara.

Lots of Australians involved in a domain name dispute here.

Another Australian, also at Monash, took an in-depth examination of the international domain name law here.

Parody

Nicholas Suzor tries to work out where parody fits into Australian copyright law …

here.

A parody, or is it a satire ?, here.

Copyright owners versus ISPs

Reports today that the UK Government has ‘brokered’ a deal between copyright owners and ISPs forcing ISPs to take a more pro-active role in cutting off illegal downloaders …

According to the IPKat things may be a little more complicated: at least one of the ISPs claims all it has agreed to do is write to the downloader and tell them that someone alleges they infringe copyright.

IPKat here.

Kim has links to the UK Government’s announcement here and expands on the details.

All this is directed at downloaders. Here, of course, ISPs (I really mean ‘carriage service provider’, start here), engaging in Category A conduct get some protection; but nonetheless can have court orders inflicted on them to cut off accounts – who is going to bear the legal costs of a successful court action to achieve this? And there is more limited protection for other types of conducrt depending on whether the activity is Category B, Category C or Category D activity – I kid you not!

Of course, if you’re not a ‘carriage service provider’, you should be shaking in your boots; especially once you get a letter from someone claiming to be a copyright owner (or acting for one) see Metro on George and Cooper v Universal, although depending on your degree of involvement you may be able to argue the latter case in particular is a bit unusual.

Even if you are a ‘carriage service provider’, it may well be that you can’t afford to sit back and wait for letters of demand (I mean, notifications) to come in:

first, you may still be liable for infringement if you become aware of infringing material or of facts or circumstances that make it apparent that material is likely to be infringing …;

secondly, Viacom and the English Premier League (no, there is no copyright in a sporting spectacle, but there is in the broadcasts) contend under the US templates of these provisions that Google must be aware because there is too much infringing ‘stuff’ out there ….