April 2010

Not complying with an injunction

IP disputes often involve the (alleged) infringer providing undertakings or being subjected to injunctions to stop infringing the IP in the future. The sanction for non-compliance being (potentially) contempt of court.

The long running Deckers litigation has now reached the point where Tracey J has found a number of the respondents in contempt of court for breaching undertakings and injunctions from litigation in 2003, 2004 and 2007.

His Honour’s reasons provide a useful guide to prove the contempt(s). Unfortunately, it looks like there will need to be another hearing to establish the penalty.

Deckers Outdoor Corporation Pty Ltd v Farley (No 6) [2010] FCA 391

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Draft ACTA text released

Draft ACTA text released Read More »

TRIPs protocol: Australian implementation consultation

IP Australia has issued a consultation paper on implementing the TRIPS protocol.

The TRIPS protocol is the modification (or is that clarification?) of TRIPS obligations to improve the availability of “crisis” pharmaceuticals in least developed and developing countries. From the discussion paper:

The TRIPS Protocol seeks to address this problem by amending the TRIPS Agreement to permit WTO members to issue compulsory licences to produce patented pharmaceutical products for export to least-developed and developing countries. The main features of the Protocol are:
• Licences may only be issued for products of the pharmaceutical sector needed to address public health concerns.
• Countries eligible to import pharmaceuticals under the system comprise any least-developed WTO country or any other WTO country that has notified the TRIPS Council.
• Importing countries are obliged to provide the TRIPS Council with details such as the names and quantities of the products needed and whether they need to issue a compulsory licence in their own country.
• Exporting countries are obliged to notify the TRIPS Council of a range of details and ensure that importing countries have done the same.
• Both importers and exporters must have in place anti-diversion measures to ensure the products produced under the system reach the intended market and are not re-exported.

Read the paper here (pdf).

Submissions due by 4 June 2010.

TRIPs protocol: Australian implementation consultation Read More »

Plant breeder’s rights in the EU

The European Court of Justice has dismissed Ralf Schräder’s appeal from the rejection of its registration for plant breeder’s rights in plectranthus ornatus.

It would seem after detailed genetic testing, including travel to South Africa, the EU regulatory authorities have determined the variety the subject of the application is not distinct from a common South African plant.

IPKat has a good overview, with links to earlier stages in the dispute, here.

Case C?38/09 P Ralf Schräder v Community Plant Variety Office

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High Court allows appeal in Health World

The High Court has unanimously allowed Health World’s appeal from the Federal Court’s ruling that it was not an “aggrieved person” and so had no standing to seek rectification of Shin Sun’s HEALTHPLUS trade mark.

Shin Sun had registered HEALTH PLUS for pharmaceutical products including vitamins and dietary supplements in class 5; and Health World was using INNER HEALTH PLUS for the same type of goods and had successfully registered it. Its action for rectification of the Register had failed in the Federal Court on the grounds that it was not an “aggrieved person”.

The High Court ruled that Health World was an aggrieved person as it and Shin Sun were trade rivals, selling the health products in question.

They are in the same trade, and they each trade in the class of goods in respect of which the challenged mark is registered.

French CJ, Gummow, Heydon and Bell JJ noted at [22]

the legislative scheme reveals a concern with the condition of the Register of Trade Marks. It is a concern that it have “integrity”[9] and that it be “pure”[10]. It is a “public mischief” if the Register is not pure[11], for there is “public interest in [its] purity”[12]. The concern and the public interest, viewed from the angle of consumers, is to ensure that the Register is maintained as an accurate record of marks which perform their statutory function – to indicate the trade origins of the goods to which it is intended that they be applied[13].

This objective was balanced by a need to stop the courts being clogged by, and trade mark owners being vexed by, busybodies. At [27], their Honours noted:

While the Act offers these facilities for ensuring that the Register is pure in the sense that no mark is to be registered unless valid, and no registration of a mark is to continue if it is not valid, the purpose of ensuring purity exists alongside another purpose. That is the purpose of preventing the security of the Register from being eroded by applications for rectification or removal by busybodies or “common informers or strangers proceeding wantonly”[15] or persons without any interest in the Register or the functions it serves beyond gratifying an intellectual concern or reflecting “merely sentimental motives”[16]. Applications of that kind, by clogging up and causing delay in the courts, would cause an unnecessary cloud to hang over registrations. The purpose of avoiding this outcome is reflected in the standing requirements in ss 88 and 92. Applications by persons who are not aggrieved are positively inimical to the fulfilment of the statutory purposes through the Register.

The Full Federal Court from which the appeal was brought had erred by adopting the rule laid down in Kraft v Gaines, that the exhaustive test for standing included a requirement that trader could, or might reasonably, wish to use the mark under challenge.

Crennan J delivered a concurring opinion. Her Honour differed from the majority in considering that an aggrieved person must be affected by the wrongly registered trade mark. Her Honour accepted that Health World satisfied that test. However, Crennan J considered at [61] “it is not essential to the resolution of these appeals to decide that it is sufficient for “a person aggrieved” to prove no more than trade rivalry with the registrant of the trade mark sought to be removed.”

As a result of this ruling, it would seem that Shin Sun’s trade mark would be removed from the Register on the trial judge‘s findings that Shin Sun did not intend to use or authorise the use of the trade mark (s 59(a)) and Shin Sun had allowed the trade mark to become deceptive or confusing (s 88(2)(c)). Health World second action for removal for non-use under s 92 would also succeed.

Health World Ltd v Shin-Sun Australia Pty Ltd [2010] HCA 13

High Court allows appeal in Health World Read More »

Resale royalty right in the EU

In a dispute over which of Salvador Dali’s heirs is entitled to the benefits of the Community Resale Royalty, the ECJ has ruled that this is a matter for national law.

The 1709 blog has a short report here; IPKat waxes lyrical here.

Case C?518/08, Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí and Visual Entidad de Gestión de Artistas Plásticos (VEGAP) v Société des auteurs dans les arts graphiques et plastiques (ADAGP)

CAL was recently appointed to administer the absolutely inalienable artist’s resale royalty scheme under the Australian Act, Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act 2009 (Cth), and Minister Garrett has announced that the scheme will come into force on 9 June 2010.

Section 15 of our Act will specify who the heirs can be – the person or person who satisfy “the succession test”:

Succession test
(1)  An entity satisfies the succession test in relation to resale royalty right on the commercial resale of an artistic work, if the entity satisfies:
(a)  criteria 1 and 2 (in subsections (2) and (3)); or
(b)  criteria 3 and 4 (in subsections (4) and (5)).
Criterion 1
(2)  The entity received its interest in the right by testamentary disposition, or in accordance with the rules of intestate succession, on the death of an individual.
Criterion 2
(3)  The entity is one of the following:
(a)  an individual with a beneficial interest in the right;
(b)  a charity or charitable institution with a beneficial interest in the right;
(c)  a community body with a beneficial interest in the right;
(d)  a person who holds an interest in the right in trust for:
(i)  an individual; or
(ii)  a charity or charitable institution; or
(iii)  a community body.
Criterion 3
(4)  The entity received its interest in the right on the winding up of a charity, charitable institution or a community body.
Criterion 4
(5)  The entity is a charity, charitable institution or a community body formed for substantially the same purposes as the body that was wound up.

Resale royalty right in the EU Read More »

Who can enforce a release

Global Brands is still suing YD Pty Ltd. The trial on quantum for infringement of registered design was almost due to start when YD applied to amend.

After YD admitted it had infringed Global Brands’ registered design, YD discovered, over 9 months earlier, that Global Brands had entered into a settlement agreement with Pegasus/Coastal relating to Global Brands allegations that Pegasus/Coastal had infringed the same registered design. The settlement agreement was in fairly typical terms:

the parties (and any related body corporate as that term is defined in s 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Related Bodies Corporate) hereby permanently release and forever discharge each other, their Related Bodies Corporate, directors, customers, servants and agents from and against all and any claim cause of action liability suit or demand which the parties … have or but for this deed may have had against each other…their customers servants or agents prior to the date of this deed for or in respect of or arising out of the subject matter or the conduct of the proceeding and the cross claim.

YD claims that Pegasus/Coastal supplied the infringing products to it and so it was a customer within the terms of the release. Pegasus/Coastal apparently did not want to become embroiled in the litigation. The amendment was to join Pegasus/Coastal as a respondent and to rely on the release.

Dodds-Streeton J has granted leave to amend, finding that YD although not a party to the settlement deed could rely on it as a special exception to the rules on privity, so long as Pegasus/Coastal was joined as a respondent.

Aon Risk Services was distinguished:

In all the unusual circumstances of this case, including:
the existence of the release, its apparent relevance as the basis for an arguable claim; its relatively circumscribed scope; the respondents’ belated knowledge of the deed and their conduct thereafter; the impact of the decision in Airberg only recently appreciated by the respondents’ counsel; the applicants’ preference that the quantum trial should not proceed if the amendments be allowed; the fact that although the proceeding has been long on foot, there has already been one trial and the parties have apparently acquiesced in various stages of non-progression:
in my opinion, weighing all relevant matters, including the nature and importance of the amendment to the respondents, notwithstanding the delay, wasted costs and prejudice to the applicants (which may not be wholly compensable by a costs order) the respondents’ applications to amend and to join Pegasus should be allowed.

Global Brands apparently denies that YD is a “customer” and, in any event, apparently intends seeking rectification to exclude the term as a “mistake”.

All this has led to the vacating of the trial date.

Global Brand Marketing Inc v YD Pty Limited [2010] FCA 323

Who can enforce a release Read More »

300 years ago, today

copyright came into being – the Statute of Anne commenced –

See for yourself.

Of course, in 1710, Great Britain still operated on the Julian Calendar (the Gregorian calendar not being adopted until September 1752) 10 April 1710 in the Julian calendar would have been 21 April 1710 in the Gregorian calendar (using this calculator, or for those of you who remember fondly things like RPN, try here).

So, it seems we still have time to plan the party! Maybe we could combine it with the plastic-y world IP day celebrations on 26 April?

Lid dip: Kay Lam-MacLeod

300 years ago, today Read More »

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