Another Brick in the
Accidents will happen. This Kat has often deprecated the heavy-handed way in which copyright owners wield their legal rights. Here's an example in "Dallas Buyers Club: Court rules in favour of film's illegal downloaders", a classic in the theme of how poor judgment and not a little rapacity in copyright enforcement combine to give copyright a bad name; it involves the practice of "speculative invoicing" of which the British and now the Australians have had first-hand experience. Take a look also at "Pixels Accidentally Files Copyright Claim Against Its Own Trailer, Forcing Its Removal", in which Brendan McKnight chronicles the brief and embarrassing history of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down application that Columbia Pictures, owners of the rights in the Pixels movie, successfully made against Vimeo (Katpats to John R. Walker for the first link, and to Chris Torrero for the second).
Around the weblogs 2. Making a rare appearance on the IPKat's weblog is the US Library of Congress blog, which has picked up some news that many Brits have missed. In short, there is a large scale microfilm conversion process underway in connection with the records of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords (that's the bit which has now been given a facelift and rebranded as the UK's Supreme Court). Some exhibits (e.g. the original fabric from the leading non-identical artistic work infringement decision in Designers Guild v Russell Williams, which this Kat has still never seen) are going to be kept but others -- including the photos of the jif lemon and Borden ReaLemon in Reckitt & Colman v Borden) are going to be ditched, if they haven't already. Fellow IP blogger Rosie Burbidge was wondering whether someone might fancy setting up a retirement home for elderly pieces of iconic evidence in IP trials. Volunteers, anyone? Meanwhile, making its debut on this blog is the University of Tasmania's Centre for Law and Genetics blog, which marked 11 August as "BRCA Expiration Day" with the following message:
|Hearing the words "Darcy" and "gift to|
women", Merpel mistakenly thought this
was all about Pride & Prejudice ...
It is a rare day that intellectual property aficionados celebrate the end of a patent. But today, 11 August 2015, is an auspicious day, as it marks the end of many of the infamous BRCA patents. These patents have been the subject of much controversy worldwide, with Court challenges in the US, Europe and Australia. The patents that are due to expire include Australian patent AU686004, the subject of D'Arcy v Myriad Genetics Inc & Another, as well as a number of the European BRCA patents (EP0699754, EP0705902 and EP0705903). In some ways this expiry will have little effect in the Australian context; as we explain in our Occasional Paper at 115, the BRCA patents have been gifted 'to the women in Australia and New Zealand’ by Genetic Technologies Ltd, the exclusive licensee of the patents in Australia and New Zealand.
However, the Australian High Court case challenges a broader principle. The question posed there is whether isolated genes that resemble those in nature are manners of manufacture for the purposes of s 18(1)(a) of the Patents Act 1990.
Whilst we eagerly await the decision of that court, Europeans and Australians need harbour no more concern that these particular patents will stifle innovation or reduce access to diagnostic tests. Beyond this, the question of what should constitute patentable subject matter will continue to be debated. Hopefully, we can learn lessons for the BRCA saga that will continue to guide patent policy in the future.
Another BRCA in the wall ...