1 Latest reported copyright decisions

The July 2005 issue of Sweet & Maxwell's European Copyright and Design Reports contains just three decisions:

* Microsoft Corp v European Commission, the Court of First Instance's analysis of whether Microsoft's failure to unbundle elements of its software constituted an abuse of a dominant position under Article 82 of the EC Treaty;

* Tayplan Ltd v D&A Contracts, a Scottish Court of Session case that deals with the niceties of perfecting title in copyright;

* Coffey v Warner/Chappell Music Ltd, a delightful High Court decision of Mr Justice Blackburne to the effect that "voice expression", "pitch contour" and certain elements of "syncopation of or around" words did not constitute protectable copyright subject matter. Having held accordingly, he dismissed the claim that Coffey's song was infringed by Madonna's "Nothing Really Matters".

The IPKat says, wherever in Europe (or even beyond Europe) you are, if you know of any case you think should be reported in the ECDR, drop co-blogmeister Jeremy a line here.

2 Now a patent for Smileys?

This is Microsoft's US patent application 0050156873, filed last week for the creation and transfer of emoticons. According to the Abstract:

"Methods and devices for creating and transferring custom emoticons allow a user to adopt an arbitrary image as an emoticon, which can then be represented by a character sequence in real-time communication. In one implementation, custom emoticons can be included in a message and transmitted to a receiver in the message. In another implementation, character sequences representing the custom emoticons can be transmitted in the message instead of the custom emoticons in order to preserve performance of text messaging. At the receiving end, the character sequences are replaced by their corresponding custom emoticons, which can be retrieved locally if they have been previously received, or can be retrieved from the sender in a separate communication from the text message if they have not been previously received".
Comments -- as if any were needed -- can be found on ZDNet UK , which attacks Microsoft for seeking to patent Smileys. P2PNet explains that its's not precisely Smileys that Microsoft is seeking to patent but in case you still needed any convincing that the USPTO issues patents which go beyond reasonable justification, here's a shortie from the Boston Herald on how the US patent system has gone aground.

3 Charity starts at home: but what of IP rights?

The IPKat found this feisty piece on control of intellectual property rights created by charities, in It seems that the Scottish Executive is requiring charities to assign to it the intellectual property rights in any software, publicity materials and research results that arise in consequence of the Scottish Executive having funded them.

The author argues that charities should not be ordered to surrender all IPR as a matter of course, but that the issue of whether the Scottish Executive takes control of it is a matter to be discussed and negotiated on the merits of each piece of funding.

The IPKat agrees, if only to spare the Scottish Executive the embarrassment of holding a portfolio of potentially conflicting or competing intellectual property rights which it has neither the ability nor the inclination to exploit commercially.
MONDAY MISCELLANY MONDAY MISCELLANY Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, July 25, 2005 Rating: 5


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