Monday Melange

The AmeriKat ready to go for
the final round of comments on the
UPC prototype
Countdown to final comments on UPC prototype:  Further to the AmeriKat's posts here about the testing of the Unified Patent Court's online prototype, comes news that the final workshop will be held in Munich on 27 November 2014 at the EPO,  In the run-up to the final meeting, the UPC IT team will continue to configure the prototype and invites everyone to re-visit and provide further feedback on the system here.  Further configuration will soon stop as the UPC IT team moves on to the procurement phase of the IT systems for the UPC.  

After five years of trade secret litigation,
 and millions in billings, has Lawyer
Barbie made partner yet?  
Barbie and Bratz slap-down continues:  It came as a surprise to the AmeriKat that the trade secrets fight between Mattel (maker of Barbie) and Bratz is still ongoing (see the AmeriKat's reports of the disputes dating back to 2010 here), but indeed it is.  In 2009, Barbie successfully sued Bratz for copyright infringement, but the injunction against Bratz to stop selling the Bratz dolls and to transition the line to Mattel was overturned in 2010.  This paved the way for, the owners of Bratz, MGA Entertainment, to file a counterclaim alleging that Mattel conducted an elaborate corporate espionage scheme in which Mattel employees engaged in various means to in order to gain access to MGA's private showrooms to obtain confidential information of Mattel's competitor's plans.  The saga got stranger and stranger with claims popping up in various courts (see reports here).   The latest event came last week when Mattel's motion to dismiss MGA's $ 1 billion trade secrets claim was denied by a Los Angeles Superior Court. A helpful summary of the latest ins-and-outs can be found in these articles from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.  

China waving the flag for specialists IP courts
New specialists IP courts to be set up in China:  From AmeriKat and IPKat friend Michael Lin (Merks & Clerk) comes news that the Chinese Government is working quickly to implement specialist IP courts in China.  With many thanks to Ms. Cindy Tung who helped to translate & summarize the Chinese announcements, Michael reports:
"The announcement indicated that the Government will set up 3 Special IP Courts in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai, where a majority of Chinese IP cases are filed.  This is ostensibly to handle the growing backlog of cases in these jurisdictions and to address the special technical requirements and intricacies of IP cases.  While the announcement does not require Judges to have technical backgrounds, the IP court judiciary should be selected from judiciary who have excellent performance in IP or related judicial works, or professionals who have equivalent qualifications and conditions in IP legal practice, legal research and teaching law.  Thus, these judges will be required to have some type of legal background, as compared to the regular court system where some judges, especially some senior judges appointed 20+ years ago, have no legal background. Furthermore, last week the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has issued some “suggestions”: specifically the Beijing Court should be set up this month with the Shanghai and Guangzhou courts to be completed by the end of 2014.  The new IP courts should be trial as well as appeal courts. The trials should cover: 
(1)   Civil and administrative cases in technical fields such as patents, plant species, layout-designs of integrated circuits, technological secrets, computer software, etc.; 
(2)  Administrative cases for legal action related to administration actions of copyrights, trademarks, anti/unfair competition, etc. against or by State Council Departments (i.e., “Federal-level” cases) or the people's governments at or above the county level (i.e. “Province/County-level” cases); and 
(3)  Civil cases related to the recognition of well-known trademarks. Accordingly, IP courts will handle both civil and administrative cases. 
However, the Beijing IP court may focus more on administrative cases while the other two focus more on civil infringement cases.  The courts will also have regional jurisdiction, likely meaning that Cases in North-Eastern China can be brought in Beijing, even if they are based in cities such as Tianjin, which is close-by.  Similarly, Shanghai would cover the East Coast, while Guangzhou would cover the south (Shenzhen, Dongguan, etc.).   And finally, the Beijing IP Court (BIPC) has itself actually started operations as of 6 November, 2014!  We congratulate the Chinese Government on moving so quickly, and look forward to seeing how these courts actually work in practice.  Hopefully this will cut into the backlog of IP cases and strengthen IP enforcement (and the image of IP enforcement) in China! "

A star-studded evening of Copyright in Sydney:  Dr Isabella Alexander of the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology in Sydney brings news of an upcoming event on 20 November 2014 entitled "Copyright in 2014:  The Year in Review & Evening Lecture" with the illustrious Professor Jane Ginsburg of Columbia University School of Law.  But its not just Professor Ginsburg who will be bring to life the turbulent year of copyright law, she will be joined by Joel Smith (Herbert Smith Freehills) who seems to have transplanted from London to Sydney when the AmeriKat wasn't looking, Vanessa Hutley (General Manager Music Rights Australia) and Nic Suzor (Queensland University of Technology).  For more details and to register for the event click here.
Monday Melange Monday Melange Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Monday, November 17, 2014 Rating: 5

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