Guest blogger Paul England (Taylor Wessing) reports on an IP Enterprise Court, England and Wales, ruling in SDL Hair Ltd v Next Row Ltd & others  EWHC 2084, where Judge Hacon addressed the issue of damages for loss of opportunity following the receipt of cease and desist letters groundlessly claiming patent infringement. There's a nuanced border between aggressive protection of IP rights and bullying. This is a super-hot topic, and so is this tale -- which incidentally also concerns a device for heating hair rollers.Does the EPO adopt a civil or a common law-type system of precedent? The first part of this true masterpiece from Darren explains this dichotomy with words of such outstanding clarity that all comparative law students should learn it by heart. Darren then provides for an in-depth analysis on whether EPO Boards are bound by the EPO’s precedents and, if so, whether the same applies to national courts. The final part of the post focuses on the nature of the EPO’s Guidelines for Examination.Predictably, Darren’s post on the EPO and the precedent doctrine, above, attracted an outstanding number of comments. This allowed the same Darren to pen this follow-up post, further exploring the main issues emerging from readers’ comments. A key point here is the proper significance and the general understanding of “precedent” and how it reflects on legal certainty and the judges' degree of freedom in ruling what they think it is just. Definitely another must-read piece on our beloved European integrated system.Bad news for European copyright lovers. After leaking the internal draft of the forthcoming White Paper on "A Copyright Policy for Creativity and Innovation in the European Union", Eleonora informs us that the publication of the final version of it, keenly awaited for this summer, has been postponed -- likely till September 2014. This has nothing to do with bureaucratic tardiness, as rumours indicate substantial divergences between Commissioners Barnier and Kroes on how revolutionary that paper should be in the world of European copyright.Jeremy talks about AG Cruz Villalon’s Opinion in a case concerning the concept of “human embryos” in the meaning of Article 6(2)(c) of Directive 98/44 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. The case is C‑364/13, International Stem Cell Corporation v Comptroller General of Patents, and it comes from a reference from the Patents Court, England and Wales. This is of one of those patent issues that trigger moral and ethical dilemmas-- as well as an extended use of Wikipedia to try to understand what the invention at stake is all about [Katnote: this is just the hors d'oeuvres. The main course, a considered guest post from Shohta Ueno, is on its way soon].Darren gives the floor to his younger colleagues of Jacob Loftus and Gemma Wooden, who write about a fresh ruling in patent litigation brought by Philips against Nintendo in the Patents Court, England and Wales ( EWHC 1959 (Pat)). According to Philips, Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U consoles infringed three of its patents relating to the interaction between users’ physical bodies and the virtual tennis character that one of Nintendo’s video games allows you to become. The whole case and Birss J’s decision are extraordinarily entertaining -- though one of the two parties might not find the ruling so funny.
Another guest contribution this week comes from Valentina Torelli, who delves into the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decision in Case C-141/13 P Reber Holding GmbH & Co. KG v OHIM, Wedl & Hofmann GmbH. The case concerns ‘genuine use’ of trade marks aimed to distinguish chocolate products. Is there any reason why we should we keep calling it ‘genuine’, Jeremy wonders?
From our friends at the UKIPO comes the news of two trade mark cases on their way to be heard by the CJEU. The first is Case T-221/12, now renumbered as Case C-142/14 P, The Sunrider Corporation v OHIM. The word trade mark "Sunny Fresh", registered for (among other things) medical food preparations and beverages, opposes the Community “SUN FRESH” device mark application, filed for beers, fizzy drinks and other beverages. The main point there is what “medical” means within EU (medical and not medical) law. The second is (or are?) Cases T-604/11 and T-292/12 Mega Brands International v OHIM, Diset. As reported in IPKat’s posts here and here, the case is about the chance to register “MAGNEXT” in front of (mainly) an earlier “Magnet4” trade mark, and how device characterisation can make a later sign fall outside the scope of protection of an earlier similar word mark -- an additional issue about use could rise, Jeremy bets. Everyone is invited to comment (either as comments to Jeremy’s post or to the UKIPO itself, though tight deadlines later this week apply!).Birgit informs readers of another call for comments, this time about the EU Commission’s Green Paper consultation on a potential extension of geographical indication (aka 'GI') protection to non-agricultural products. People who would be interested in having, not having at all, or simply saying a word on Gis on things like ceramics, marble, cutlery, shoes, tapestries and musical instruments can make their point until 28 October 2014.This week Neil gets into the field of nature, both agricultural and human. The story begins with Monsanto developing a system that allows ‘prescriptive farming’. In a nutshell, the system uses a vast database, enriched with information as to soil characteristics and weather-simulation points. Combining those data with the library of seeds it sells, Monsanto is able to suggest “planting a field with different varieties at different depths and spacing, varying all in accordance with the weather.” The innovation’s greatest opportunities, however, might be reduced by clients’ mistrust, and that appears to be the case for Monsanto’s system, with US farmers nothing less than reluctant to share their harvest information with the multinational company.This is the final post for last week and it's about a pretty much unusual co-branding case. What happens when a luxury fashion house marries the brand image of a giant fast-food company? Have a look at Rebecca’s note to get the answer. This, by the way, is Rebecca's first post as an official guest Kat. Well done, Rebecca.
Monday, 21 July 2014
Here is the third in our weekly series of compilations by our good friend and former guest Kat Alberto which list and briefly summarise the feature posts (excluding the regular around-ups) that have appeared on this weblog over the previous week and which readers who were
sunning themselves on the beach, absent or too busy can see what they missed and decide conveniently for themselves what they want to chase up, without ploughing through the debris at the bottom of their inboxes. Anyway, what you missed last week was this: