For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wednesday whimsies

The IPKat's friend, Glasto Guru and 1709 Blogger Ben Challis, kindly drew his attention to this little snippet from the CMU Daily:

"Sony changes network terms to prevent future class actions 
State-of-the-art Play Station in the analogue era ...
Sony Corp is facing another tricky PR challenge as tech blogs and news sites around the world note a change to the terms of service attached to the electronic and entertainment giant's PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network, the latter the new name for the recently rebranded Qriocity service. 
Under the new terms, users must commit to not participate in any class action lawsuits regarding any future security breaches on the Sony network. As users have to accept the new terms in order to log on to the Sony system, and given that many will do so without even reading the new conditions, some have criticised the change [Some courts have held that terms which no-one can be reasonably expected to read don't form part of the contract: see eg McCutcheon v MacBrayne]. Though given that one class action lawsuit launched in the US earlier this year, after that very high profile data spill on the Sony network, could cost the firm billions, some bad press now to reduce the impact of future action is probably worth it [Is there any suggestion that the bad press might affect goodwill in the Sony brand and the popularity of its products? Merpel doubts it]
Under the new terms, if users felt they had suffered damage due to a future security lapse on the Sony network, they would have to pursue their own individual case against the electronics firm - initially via a Sony selected arbitrator - rather than relying on others to launch a so called class action suit where they too could win compensation if the litigation is successful, even though they are not directly participating in the legal case. The new terms will mainly affect users in America, where class actions are most common, though similar collective action systems do exist in some other jurisdictions, including some in mainland Europe. 
Users can actually opt out of the new anti-collective-action term, though to do so they must send a letter (not an email) to Sony Entertainment's LA headquarters. And critics say that most users won't be bothered to that, or even get as far as reading the small print in the new user agreement that details the opt out option. 
According to the BBC, a class action lawsuit filed against Sony in the US in April relating to the big data spill could cost the firm billions, despite the company having already offered compensation packages to the 100 million plus users worldwide whose personal information was leaked during one of several hacking attacks on the company's servers [Here's an advantage of facing a class action, surely: a one-size-fits-every-class-member compensation payment, instead of bespoke loss-related awards?]. The most severe attack ... led to the PlayStation Network being offline for 40 days. At the time Sony was criticised for how long it took to admit that so much personal data had been leaked".

News from the blogosphere.  German patent practitioner, enthusiast and GermanIP blogger Michael Thesen has joined the PatLit patent litigation blogging team.  A patent attorney with Beetz & Partner, Munich, he also has a very sweet smile (left). Kenya has a new IP blog, IPKenya, not to be confused with IP-Kenya.  The IPKat's old friend Owen Dean has just started an IP blog under the name of The Anton Mostert Chair in Intellectual Property, which Owen holds at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Good luck, Owen, we look forward to following your thoughts. Congratulations are due to the MARQUES Class 46 European trade mark weblog, which has now notched up its 2,300th email subscriber.


Recently posted. From the jiplp weblog come two Current Intelligence notes that are destined for publication in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP): the European Patent Office's very own David Rogers writes about those endearing little creatures we know and love as pharmaceutically active polymorphs, while Darren Meale, now with SRN Denton, looks at the exciting prospects for legal relief against internet service providers following the Newzbin2 litigation. The seventh in the series of articles for IP Finance by Keith Mallinson (WiseHarbor) argues powerfully in favour of IP protection for software patent here.  Afro-IP has a poll at the top of its home page side bar on South Africa's proposed legislation on traditional knowledge (click here for some background). Afro Leo urges you to vote, regardless of the outcome. Over in the Land of Fairness Compensation, Monika Bross (1709 Blog) reviews the prospects for success of the late Elvis Presley's daughter and Elvis Presley Enterprises LLC in their current German compensation claim.


Venue needed.  The IPKat's annual IP Publishers' and Editors' buffet, which will now be held on Wednesday 7 December [please note change of date, if this concerns you!], is in need of a generously donated Central London venue and hospitality.  The buffet meeting, which is free to attend, brings together around 45 to 50 often competing publishers, editors and media contributors within the field of intellectual property hard-copy and online publishing.  Previous meetings have been attended by participants from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and even Japan, and guest speakers have included Judge Fysh QC, Tibor Gold MBE and Christopher Morcom QC.  If you'd like to host this meeting, please email IPKat team member Jeremy here, though it may take him a day or two to get back to you.

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