Archive: December 2014

1
Patent Office Issues New Examination Guidelines for Subject Matter Eligibility
2
IP Australia Rejects MH370 Trade Mark Application
3
Australian Government Reveals Plan to Crackdown on Online Piracy – but not too Hard!
4
Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Sandoz’s BPCIA-Related Declaratory Judgment Action Regarding Enbrel® Patents, but Declines to Address BPCIA Interpretation
5
Declaratory Judgment Action Premature: Decision Suggests “Patent Dance” Mandatory for Biosimilar Applicants
6
Flying Doughnuts – Future Reality?
7
Recording Trade Mark Licence Agreements in the Middle East
8
The Color Red Sparks a Dispute Between Banks
9
Apple Denied App Store Trade Mark in Australia
10
High Court of Australia Decides Landmark Trade Mark Case

Patent Office Issues New Examination Guidelines for Subject Matter Eligibility

On December 16, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published new guidelines for determining patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. These guidelines do not have the force of law, but nevertheless establish the specific procedures that the Examiners apply during examination of patent applications. These guidelines are effective immediately, supersede previous guidelines regarding nature-based products, and supplement previous guidelines regarding abstract ideas. Based on Supreme Court decisions, the new guidelines set forth an analytical framework that is designed to “promote[] examination efficiency and consistency across all technologies” and is particularly relevant for patents directed to natural products, software, and business methods.

To read the full alert, click here.

IP Australia Rejects MH370 Trade Mark Application

On 8 March 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappeared. Five days later, Aoan International Pty Ltd (Aoan) filed an application to register MH370 as a trade mark in class 41 of the NICE classification of goods and services for various services.

IP Australia initially rejected the application under section 41 of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (Act) on the basis that other traders should be entitled to refer to MH370 with respect to the services proposed to be offered by Aoan. IP Australia then reconsidered its decision and decided to reject the application under section 42(a) of the Act saying that the trade mark was scandalous on the basis that the trade mark would offend a section of the community. Read More

Australian Government Reveals Plan to Crackdown on Online Piracy – but not too Hard!

The Australian Government announced last week that it will implement measures proposed by Attorney General, George Brandis, and the Australian Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, to reduce “high levels of online copyright infringement”.

The announcement is timely – given the owners of the film Dallas Buyers Club issue of proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in November, against five internet service providers (ISPs) including iiNet, seeking orders to have the ISPs disclose the identities of alleged pirates. Read More

Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Sandoz’s BPCIA-Related Declaratory Judgment Action Regarding Enbrel® Patents, but Declines to Address BPCIA Interpretation

The biologics industry has been eagerly awaiting the Federal Circuit’s ruling on Sandoz Inc.’s (“Sandoz”) appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s dismissal of its declaratory judgment action due to lack of Article III jurisdiction. In particular, the industry has been waiting to see whether the Federal Circuit would uphold the district court’s ruling that Sandoz’s lawsuit was barred by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”). Unfortunately, the Federal Circuit declined to address the district court’s interpretation of the BPCIA, providing no further guidance on the topic. Instead, the Federal Circuit simply affirmed the district court’s ruling that there was no subject matter jurisdiction, relying on Hatch-Waxman generic drug cases as precedent.

To read the full alert, click here.

 

Declaratory Judgment Action Premature: Decision Suggests “Patent Dance” Mandatory for Biosimilar Applicants

Biosimilar applicants and branded biologics have been wondering how the procedures set forth in the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”) will be implemented since its enactment in 2010. The lack of guidance on this subject has already sparked litigation, including the recent litigation between Amgen Inc. (“Amgen”) and Sandoz Inc. (“Sandoz”) discussed in our previous client alert, Left without a Partner: Amgen Sues Sandoz for Refusing to Dance in Accordance with BPCIA Patent Procedures. However, Amgen and Sandoz are not the only parties that have brought disputes involving the BPCIA to the courts for resolution.

To read the full alert, click here.

Flying Doughnuts – Future Reality?

Airbus filed a suite of patent applications recently, one of which includes a futuristic looking new concept for a passenger aircraft.

Dubbed the ‘flying doughnut’, and looking like a craft one would expect to see only in a science fiction movie, the aircraft features a circular cabin accessed via a cavity in the middle, contained in the middle of a giant triangular wing.

The aircraft design allows for a wider passenger cabin than traditional passenger aircrafts, with the circular cabin making the most of the greater width. An important advantage of this new aircraft is that the circular cabin is better able to withstand pressurisation loads without compromising cabin space.

Read More

Recording Trade Mark Licence Agreements in the Middle East

Many businesses operate in the Middle East through entities licensed to use their trade marks. These businesses should be aware that many Middle Eastern countries require that trade mark licence agreements are recorded with the respective Trade Mark Registers or other named authorities in these countries. Not recording a licence agreement could lead to monetary penalties being imposed on the licensee or an inability to enforce trade marks against third party infringers.

For example, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates each have more or less equivalent provisions in which a trade mark licence agreement must be in writing, it cannot include unregistered trade marks and it has no legal effect against third parties unless it is recorded on the respective Trade Mark Registers (or other named authorities in these countries). Each of these countries has slightly different processes and requirements for seeking registration of a trade mark licence agreement. Read More

The Color Red Sparks a Dispute Between Banks

The Secondary Distinctiveness of a Trademark: Ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union

If a ‘significant part’ (at least 70%) of the consumer group is able to recognize given goods as deriving from a specific company using the trademark, then the mark has certainly acquired distinctiveness, including in the case of ‘secondary distinctiveness as a result of use’.

The European Court of Justice held on 19 June 2014 in a ruling (C-217/13 and C-218/13) in the case of Oberbank AG, Banco Santander SA and Santander Consumer Bank AG vs. Deutsche Sparkassen und Giroverband e.V. (DSGV), the result of three pre-trial questions submitted to the Court of Justice by the German Federal Patent Office (Bundespatentgericht). The findings were as follows: Read More

Apple Denied App Store Trade Mark in Australia

It has been a bumper week for IP decisions in Australia. Earlier, we reported on the Coke v Pepsi and Cantarella decisions. Now, in a third major judgment, the Federal Court of Australia (Federal Court) has refused registration of Apple’s trade mark application for APP STORE in Australia.

Apple Inc. v Registrar of Trade Marks [2014] FCA 1304 was an appeal from a decision by the Registrar of Trade Marks (Registrar). The Registrar found that the trade mark APP STORE was ‘purely’, ‘directly’ or ‘inherently’ descriptive, as it would be well understood by modern digital-savvy consumers to refer to a ‘store’ that sells or provides ‘apps’. Read More

High Court of Australia Decides Landmark Trade Mark Case

Decision in Cantarella Bros Pty Ltd v Modena Trading Pty Ltd Clarifies Test for Distinctiveness of Trade Marks in Australia

This week, the High Court of Australia (High Court) handed down only its third decision considering trade mark issues since the enactment of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). This decision could make it easier to register foreign language words as trade marks.

Read More

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