From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

CIPIL Spring Conference: what is the scope of IPR protection (and what should it be)?

*Clearly* feels like spring
in Cambridge today ...
Today the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge is hosting the annual Spring Conference of the Centre for Intellectual Property Law & Information Law, of which Professor Lionel Bently is the director [tweeting from the conference as @LionelBently].

This year's conference, chaired by Mr Justice Richard Arnold and - as usual - attended by practitioners and academics alike, is devoted to exploring the scope of IPR protection.

As explained in the conference blurb, as soon as one moves outside the realm of identical inventions, designs [with - obviously - a special focus on this week's UK Supreme Court decision in the Trunki case: so far Redd's Sarah Ashby has spoken in defence of the first instance decision], signs, and works, the question becomes how far protection should be. More specifically:

"[H]ow to deal with colourable versions, where some elements are changed in an attempt to avoid infringement? [well, if you were in France, this argument might not fly and this move would possibly be considered an infringement of the author's moral rights ...] How to identify the substance of the protected subject matter? How far to extend protection to the use of parts, variants, derivatives of the subject matter? And how to maintain the usefulness of any register to third parties, once the scope of any right becomes predicated on circumstances external to the register itself?"


The first part of the morning session is devoted to registered rights, while the second part discusses the scope of unregistered rights (copyright and confidential information). The afternoon session provides an insight into comparative approaches at both the legal/judicial and policy levels.

As far as trade marks are concerned, this Kat so far has found particularly interesting the argument that Simon Malynicz QC (Three New Square) put forward, ie that when it comes to trade marks with a reputation, their repute might actually reduce the risk of confusion rather than (as the case law seems to suggest) enhancing it. He illustrated this point by showing pictures of Sean Connery lookalikes: would anyone be confused that the man on the left-hand side is in fact Mr Connery himself?

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