Upcoming copyright and patent talks

Ben Fitzpatrick will be giving his highly regarded annual update of patents for IPSANZ on 16 July at 12.15 at the RACV Club in Melbourne.

Details will be available here (in due course).

After talking in Melbourne on 3 August, Dr Gurry will be delivering a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra on 4 August and then

on 6 August, the keynote speech at the Reimagining copyright for the 21st century in Canberra at the National Gallery. In what promises to be an exciting conference, there will also be papers by:

  • Professor Brad Sherman: Key developments in the last 40 years of copyright
    that shape our thinking about the future
    * Professor Sam Ricketson: Copyright and functional products
    * Sophie Goddard SC: Development of copyright by the courts
    * Dr Matthew Rimmer: The role of fair use in creative freedom
    * Associate Professor Melissa de Zwart:The role of copyright in innovation
  • Professor Brad Sherman: Key developments in the last 40 years of copyright that shape our thinking about the future
  • Professor Sam Ricketson: Copyright and functional products
  • Sophie Goddard SC: Development of copyright by the courts
  • Dr Matthew Rimmer: The role of fair use in creative freedom
  • Associate Professor Melissa de Zwart:The role of copyright in innovation

More details from here.

Finally, details about the biennal Copyright Society Symposium on 14 and 15 October 2009 in Sydney are up here.

Secrecy laws

The ALRC has released a discussion paper outlining 65 proposals:

“to balance a growing commitment to increased openness and transparency in government with the legitimate need to maintain the secrecy and confidentiality of some Commonwealth information.”

Submissions should be made by a leisurely 7 August 2009.

According to the Media Briefing:

The chapters fall into four broad areas:
concepts and comparisons;
a general criminal secrecy offence;
specific secrecy offences; and
administrative duties, practices and procedures.

The chapters fall into four broad areas:

    • concepts and comparisons;
    • a general criminal secrecy offence;
    • specific secrecy offences; and
    • administrative duties, practices and procedures.
and the centre piece would be:
the ALRC proposes that the new general secrecy offence should only impose criminal liability where a particular disclosure did, was reasonably likely to, or was intended to:
  • harm the national security, defence or international relations of the Commonwealth;
  • prejudice the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction, the enforcement of laws relating to the confiscation of the proceeds of crime, or the protection of the public revenue;
  • endanger the life or physical safety of any person;
  • pose a serious threat to public health or public safety;
  • have a substantial adverse effect on personal privacy; or
  • have a substantial adverse effect on a person in respect of his or her lawful business or professional affairs or on the business, commercial or financial affairs of an organisation.

There are also chapters on the administrative obligations of the Public Service and fostering effective information handling practices.

(I guess that wouldn’t be: we can’t give you that for privacy reasons?).

Discussion paper here.

Media release

Media briefing paper

Patent and Trade Mark procedures in the Office

IP Australia has released 3 further consultation papers on “IP Rights Reforms”:

  • resolving divisional applications faster
  • resolving patent oppositions faster
  • resolving trade mark oppositions faster

Submissions are sought by 17 August 2009.

Download the papers (pdf or .doc) from here.

There are also links to the earlier papers on ‘Getting the Balance Right’ and ‘Exemptions to Patent Infringement’.

The value of descriptive ‘trade marks’?

Lea Lewin looks at why Virgin lost its opposition (in the Office) to Qantas‘ attempt to register

ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, LOW FARES

in the face of Virgin’s ‘trade mark’ for:

EVERY DAY LOW FARES

Unfortunately, Virgin’s ‘trade mark’ doesn’t exactly leap off its website (or the evidence it filed).

Given Qantas is on the verge of registration (and apparently using its ‘mark’ through Jetstar), I can see why Virgin would want one too. Duets looks at some reasons from a US perspective and some other things to think about.

But, surely the real question here, is how can any trade mark system allow anyone to register either (purely descriptive) ‘mark’?

Google’s trade mark policy

Yesterday (in the USA) Google’s new trade mark policy and complaint procedure came into force.

All the details here.

Australia is still in the regions where both text and keywords are monitored.

Lid dip @TrademarkBlog (aka Marty Schwimmer)

3 strikes in Kiwi land

Looks like New Zealand will be repealing its law imposing a “3 strikes” ban requiring ISPs to cut off infringing downloaders.

Howard has the news at Excess Copyright. Imagine how much lobbying is going to take place now? How long before the USTR has to fly all the way down “here”?

Howard also links to an interesting article about the settlement by Eire’s biggest ISP.

Our law, s 116AG, already gives the Court power to order an ISP to do this and, of course, the case against iiNet is still winding its way through the legal process.

Productivity Commission on parallel imports

The Productivity Commission has released its draft report into the copyright restrictions on parallel importing books:

Australia’s Parallel Import Restrictions (PIRs) for books should be modified as follows. 

• PIRs should apply for 12 months from the date of first publication of a book in Australia. Thereafter, parallel importation should be freely permitted. 

• If a PIR-protected book becomes unavailable during this 12 month period, then parallel importation should be freely permitted until local supply is re- established, or the expiry of the 12 month period allows for generalised parallel importation.  

• Booksellers should be allowed to overtly offer an aggregation service for individual orders of imported books under the single use provisions. 

All other aspects of the current PIR arrangements should continue unchanged, including the 30 day rule. 

All to be topped up with what appears to be the now mandatory 5 year review to see if it’s working.

I wonder how many books your local bookseller will have to order at once before he or she will start to consider absorbing the cost of freight? Of course, we can always hope that they also find out about addall.com and all those other internet sites rather than using that complicated clunky thing they play with on their computers while you are growing a beard.

Links to the full report here.

Australian Innovation Review

The Government has released the Report On The Review Of The National Innovation System. 

You can download copies of the Report, an Overview, the 3 different press releases, the Minister’s introductory remarks and the Minister’s speech from here.  I wonder if the prospects of implementation are increased or decreased by the quantity of media assistance?

As the Report points out, “we have known for several generations that innovation pre-eminently determines our prosperity.”

And yet:

as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Australian Government support for science and innovation, has fallen by nearly a quarter. Also the number of researchers per 1,000 employees has declined substantially in the last decade, and US patents granted per 1,000 population have plunged from 0.06 to 0.01 (1999–2003). And yet during this time, the public revenue was fed by a torrent of cash from the mineral boom. 

There are 201 pages, plus 7 annexes.  There are 15 pages of recommendations.

Interestingly, there is also a software analysis of the main themes identified in submissions and, very usefully, the Departmental summary of the submissions.

Comments can be submitted to the Ministry until (at least) 23 September 2008.  Well, it is almost 2 weeks!