Rambus competition probe to be dropped
Forbes reports that Rambus and the European Commission have reached an agreement that will see the Commission dropping its antitrust probe into Rambus. The investigation has considered whether Rambus abused its dominant position by setting overly-high royalties for licensing DRAM patents that it was alleged were fraudulently set as industry standards. In return, Rambus will cap certain licence fees for 5 years and will ensure any fee cuts benefit the whole market. The agreement still needs the approval of other industry players.
Had this gone the whole way, the IPKat wouldn't have envied the Commission in trying to figure out what 'excessive royalties' are in this situation.
Canada rejects business method patents
Meanwhile, the Inquirer reports that the Canadian Patent Appeals Board has said a firm no to business method patents. Speaking in an appeal against a decision to refuse the registration of Amazon's One-Click method for buying goods online the Board said:
"since patenting business methods would involve a radical departure from the traditional patent regime, and since the patentability of such methods is a highly contentious matter, clear and unequivocal legislation is required for business methods to be patentable."
The IPKat is no fan of providing patent protection for anything as fundamental as business methods and welcomes the decision.
Friday, 12 June 2009
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Displaying a previously unrevealed talent for reading legal decisions in Dutch, and with only a tiny bit of help from his friend Kristof Neefs (Laga), the IPKat brings news of a dramatic development in the Netherlands. In essence, a Dutch interim judge in Haarlem has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting BUMA (a Dutch copyright collecting society) from granting any further licences for the online sale of the repertoire of works administered by the Performing Rights Society (PRS), in so far as those licences extend beyond the territory of the Netherlands. BUMA had previously granted a licence for the territory of the entire European Community to beatport.com.
PRS maintained that the reciprocal agreements between collecting societies did not grant BUMA any royalty-collecting rights beyond the Dutch territory. In its defence, BUMA attempted to rely on the Commission's recent decision in CISAC (see IP Finance post here). BUMA argued that any territorial restriction in its reciprocal representation agreements is null and void, as these restrictions are anticompetitive and infringe Article 81 EC. The judge in the interim proceedings rejected BUMA's argument, stating that even if the territorial restrictions in the agreements are invalid, BUMA still has no right to license the PRS repertoire beyond the territory of the Netherlands.
This is (says Kristof) an interesting ruling in light of the CISAC decision and the Commission's paper on creative content online. The IPKat agrees, though he is a little surprised to see collecting societies breaking rank like this rather than all being on the same side. Yes indeed, says Merpel: when copyright collecting societies litigate against one other, the cost is borne by the rights owners whom they are supposed to benefit.
BUMA goes beyond the European Union here, and also here
Naughty meaning of BUMA here