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Monday, 1 December 2014

Never too late! If you missed the IPKat last week

With this, the twenty-second weekly round-up of the previous week's blog posts, brought to you by our noble and gracious friend Alberto Bellan, we tidy up our last batch of November blogposts.  From now till Christmas and the New Year, the constant toll of office parties, hangovers, furious attempts to meet arbitrary deadlines, frantic efforts to consume days of unclaimed sick-leave entitlement clear the desk before taking well-deserved leave and other inevitable distractions may cause some faithful readers to miss a day or two of Kat action, so Alberto's service, which promises to extend right through the holiday period and beyond it, will be an invaluable service.

Anyway, here are last week's Katposts:

If curiosity killed the cat, is that the fault of confidentiality? Probably not, but trade secrets. their vulnerability and their need for protection call for an integrated policy that looks at technical, legal and strategic aspects of commercially valuable information. Blogmeister Jeremy reviews here a major forthcoming conference for which this Kat is a media partner and which offers a 10% registration discount to readers of this weblog.

Are you new to the enchanting world of copyright? Has your client/professor/colleague/ children/lover just asked you anything about issues of alleged infringement? No worries! From Southampton (with love) comes Eleonora’s checklist on the must-consider issue that has to be taken into account in those scary situations. 

In days of old there were oral hearings and the European patent attorney had to travel to the EPO’s citadel in Munich, Berlin or the Hague, for face-to-face combat with the Examining Division. In recent times, however, the EPO has embraced video-conferencing for oral proceedings before the Examining Division. That move has simplified proceedings greatly while also reducing the overall costs for the applicant. But is a face-to-face hearing likely to produce a better result than a video-conference for the applicant, wonders Merpel? 

The bat is both a lauded symbol of eastern Spain and of Gotham City's hero Robin Batman. It comes as no surprise, than, that Valencia Football Club and DC Comics are litigating over a bat-trade mark application, as Sophie Arrowsmith (an IP solicitor with Hamlins), hosted by Jeremy, kindly reports in this post. 

It's not every day that Europe's senior court takes a look at the enforcement of patents in any situation, let alone when they are in that sensitive area of essential technical standards that all market participants will want, indeed need, to use in order to comply with the standard in question. Jeremy pens on one of those rarities, ie Case C-170/13 Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd v ZTE Corp., ZTE Deutschland GmbH, on which Advocate General Melchior Wathelet has just delivered his opinion.

 Birgit writes about a recently published decision by the German Federal Supreme Court concerning the registrability of acronyms as trade marks. The ruling’s reference is I ZB 64/13 of 22 May 2014, and the acronym at stake was "ECR-Award", registered for services in classes 41. “ECR” may stand for "Efficient Consumer Response", Birgit explains: will the relevant consumer know, so making the acronym descriptive? Do read this post to find out!

Rebecca reports the truly unbelievable story of an Italian business woman named Gabriella Capra suing the famous cartoon Peppa Pig producers for defamation. Why in the world, one would ask? Well, one episode of the series featured some “Gabriella Goat”, and “goat” in Italian gets translated into that lady’s surname “capra”. Ms Capra complains to have been “innocently exposed to public hilarity”. Things will certainly get better for her now ...

Case C-484/14 McFadden is a reference for a preliminary ruling from CJEU-loving Member State Germany, seeking clarification as regards the liability of a freely-accessible wi-fi provider for third-party copyright infringements committed via that wireless network. There may be some liability here, a reader might guess -- but also much more, as Eleonora explains.

 Jeremy reports on IPC Media Ltd v Media 10 Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 1439, a Court of Appeal for England and Wales ruling dealing with trade mark infringement and a counter-claim for invalidity of the “Ideal Home” sign used for online marketplaces. The first-degree decision [noted here on this weblog] dismissed both the claim and the counter-claim, as while there was some confusion between the businesses, it was of little practical consequence since as the plaintiff was running a magazine and the defendant was running a TV show. Do we really need a court ruling to establish that, wonders Merpel?
 Case T-240/13 Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Co. OHG v OHIM, Alifoods, SA is a General Court ruling concerning the registrability of “Alifood” for a wide range of tasty foods and drinks in Classes 29 and 32, plus a long list of services relating to them in Class 35. While that sign itself seemed distinctive enough and ready for accessing the Community register, it found on its way nothing less than the imitation and lookalike specialists Aldi [whose track record, in earlier Katposts, can be found here].

 This is one of the IPKat’s book-review round-ups, penned by blogmeister Jeremy. The first work mentioned is Legal Innovations In Asia: Judicial Lawmaking and the Influence of Comparative Law, edited by John O. Haley and Toshiko Takenaka. It is the third in the Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series brought out by Edward Elgar Publishing. The second Asia-oriented piece of literature is Innovation And Intellectual Property In China: Strategies, Contexts and Challenges, edited by Ken Shao and Xiaoqing Feng. It is another well-pitched Edward Elgar Publishing title, which will appeal to anyone who wants that mid-range information which is neither too detailed nor too long or too historical in its content.

The Merck v Merck trade mark dispute (real name: Merck KGaA v Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp and others) has already appeared a couple of times on this weblog [see here and here], with the further honour to have a dedicated poll on who between the Germans and the Americans should have right to use that much-contended name. This time, Jeremy recounts the two most episodes of the saga, these being rulings of the Chancery Division, England and Wales at [2014] EWHC 3867 (Ch) considering the issue of the law applicable to a settlement agreement, and [2014] EWHC 3920 (Ch) asking when is it appropriate for the court to depart from the general rule under the Civil Procedure Rules that unsuccessful party has to bear the proceedings’ costs.

A reader asks: “do any IPKat readers know of any recent cases where trade mark owners have challenged unauthorised use or inclusion of their signs in an artistic or literary work (particularly television/film), either on the basis of trade mark legislation or passing off/false endorsement? Or do they perhaps know of any cases that might shed some light on whether unauthorised placement in such works can, in and of itself, constitute use for the purpose of keeping a trade mark registration alive?”. Jeremy has got a couple of ideas. Do you?

Looking for something in the iconic treatiseMcCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition, Neil found himself lost in a nothing less than confusing index to that work. Whereas he easily navigated the earlier form of the treatise from over 40 years ago, the scant indices it currently provides are simply not up to the task. Whose fault is that, Neil wonders?

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PREVIOUSLY, ON NEVER TOO LATE

Never too late 21 [week ending Sunday 23 November] -- EPO + SIPO = happiness? | IPEC on infringement of escort pictures and targeted public | Jeremy’s take on the IP Big Picture | Merpel on the EPO finances | AG Bot on Spanish claim against Unitary Patent | The General Court in TM cases Case T-342/12 and Joined Cases T-122/13, T-123/13 and T-77/13 | Court of Appeal for England and Wales on software patent | CJEU rules over Golden Balls v Ballon D’Or | IP on the airplanes and airport | Do TMs protect consumers or its owner?


Never too late 20 [week ending Sunday 16 November] -- More on Jeremy’s Francis Gurry Lecture "IP in Transition: desperately seeking the Big Picture"  | OHIM and trade marks on 3D and 2D animals’ devices  |  Size of patent drawings matter  |  IPKat e-mails causing problems (but we still love you)  |  Helmut Kohl’s injunction against the “The Kohl Protocols”  |  Ambiguous patent translations  |  IPEC on damages for TM infringement in IPEC’s National Guild of Removers and Storers Ltd v Statham t/a Marrubi's Removals & Storage.

Never too late 19 [week ending Sunday 9 November] -- Copyright over Kim Kardashian’s bottom  |  EPO under EU Parliament’s investigation?  |  Rights on photographs of fake social profiles  |  IPEC hears big claims  |  Spanish copyright reform  |  Court of Appeal for England and Wales’ decision in Interflora v M&S | IPEC on confusing business names in Anglian Windows Ltd v Anglian Roofline Ltd  |  Ford Denied Well-Known Trademark Protection in Russia  |  Crayola suit to prevent genericide and dilution in the US  |  Copyright: monopoly or exclusive right?  |  The 17th draft of UPC Rules of Procedure.

Never too late 18 [week ending Sunday 2 November] -- The Limerick Competition results | More on CJEU in BestWater | The GC in Laguiole | France to review its IP Code | Reports on the “no patents round-up for non-techie people” event | Renting an orphan work in the UK | Aldi and look-alikes | The UK Supreme Court in Servier v Apotex | Are patent trolls really a problem? | Last developments over linking in EU.

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