Archive: May 2017

UK Appointed Person gives first decision in registered design appeal
“Deluxe” as a word element of a trademark – ruling of the EU Court of Justice
Distinctiveness of a mark (packaging of Knoppers waffles) – ruling of the EU Court of Justice
Britax overruled – Federal Court sets record straight for infringement of innovation patents
Sandoz v. Amgen—Biosimilars at the Supreme Court—Oral Argument
Kardashian #copyright saga

UK Appointed Person gives first decision in registered design appeal

The first decision on an appeal to the Appointed Person under a new regime for designs has been issued. The appeal in this first case was against a decision by a hearing officer for the IPO to invalidate two registered designs consisting of a garment with a modified Union flag on the chest, in response to a request from a competitor of the rights owner.

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Distinctiveness of a mark (packaging of Knoppers waffles) – ruling of the EU Court of Justice

We reported previously, in Bulletin No. 2 /2016 (page 15), on a case of the registration of the graphic trademark (shown below, packaging for Knoppers waffles, without any additional markings, with protection only for the two-colored background) for goods from class 30 of the Nice Classification, namely confectionery products, chocolates, chocolate products, cakes, ice creams, and ingredients for manufacturing such products.

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Britax overruled – Federal Court sets record straight for infringement of innovation patents

The Full Court of the Federal Court’s decision in Coretell Pty Ltd v Australian Mud Company Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 54 has clarified the date from which the owner of an innovation patent is entitled to compensation for infringement of the innovation patent.  In the case of an innovation patent which has been filed as a divisional application, the Court’s decision significantly alters the time from which relief can be claimed, and has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of compensation to which the patentee is entitled.

A previous decision of the Federal Court of Australia (Britax Childcare Pty Ltd v Infa-Secure Pty Ltd (No 3) [2012] FCA 1019) held that the owner of a divisional innovation patent was entitled to relief from the date that the “parent” application became open for public inspection (OPI).  This allowed a patentee to strategically file a divisional innovation patent with claims tailored to read on to a competitor’s conduct, and then claim relief from the parent’s OPI date (which may have been some years earlier).  As Justice Burley noted in Coretell, this produced the unattractive result of a person being liable to pay compensation for acts of infringement pre-dating the existence of the innovation patent said to have been infringed.

Justice Burley (with whom Justice Nicholas and Jagot agreed) corrected this anomaly and made clear that the relevant date for relief for infringement of an innovation patent is its date of grant.  This diminishes the strategic benefit of patentees filing divisional innovation patents – although divisional innovation patents can still be tailored to target the conduct of a potential infringer, the patentee will only be entitled to relief from the date the divisional innovation patent was granted, and therefore publicly accessible, and not before.

By: Alex Dunlop and Nakita Wilkinson

Sandoz v. Amgen—Biosimilars at the Supreme Court—Oral Argument

All nine U.S. Supreme Court justices heard argument on Wednesday April 26th, in Sandoz Inc., v. Amgen Inc.  The Supreme Court is reviewing interpretations of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Wednesday’s arguments focused on four main issues:

  1. whether the FDA could preliminarily grant licensure prior to the expiration of the 12 year statutory period;
  2. whether the notice of commercial marketing requires official licensure to be made;
  3. whether the “patent dance” was required by the BPCIA; and
  4. whether state law could be used to enforce compliance with the “patent dance” elements of the BPCIA.

Industry watchers hope that the Supreme Court will streamline the process for getting biosimilars to market by providing increased certainty.

To read the full alert, click here.

By: Theodore J. Angelis, Peter Giunta, Kenneth C. Liao, Margaux L. Nair and Jenna Bruce

Kardashian #copyright saga

Is this the right angle?
Is this the best filter?
Do I have the legal right to post this content?

While the first two questions may be at the forefront of the mind of social media users, the third is arguably as important as the pressure to push content to followers mounts in a saturated market. It is all too easy to download, screen-shot or take a photo of an image and share it across many platforms, however, taking a laissez-faire attitude to copyright ownership can land social media users in hot water.

Not only is uploading and sharing content protected by copyright a breach of the terms of use of most social media platforms (and could lead to a  user’s accounts being suspended or terminated in some cases) but it may also lead to copyright litigation, as Khloe Kardashian recently discovered.

Last week, Xposure Photos UK LTD, an “international celebrity photo agency”, filed proceedings against Ms Kardashian in the Central District Court of California alleging that she had infringed its copyright in an image that was posted to her Instagram® account.[1]  The image in question had originally been licensed to The Daily Mail and contained a copyright notice “© XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM”. The version of the image that appeared on Ms Kardashian’s account did not contain this notice nor any acknowledgement of Xposure Photos. The unauthorised removal of the copyright notice attracts 17 US Code § 1202 -1203 which provide the basis for a civil action for such conduct. In addition to seeking an injunction to prevent Ms Kardashian from using the image, Xposure Photos is also seeking US$25,000 in statutory damages as well as any profits resulting from the infringement.

While this is arguably small change for Ms Kardashian (who allegedly earns up to US$250,000 for a sponsored post on her social media sites), once legal costs and any time invested in litigation or negotiating a settlement is considered, it seems a hefty price to pay for failing to obtain an appropriate licence from the copyright owner. It is a timely reminder to social media users to ensure that they have the appropriate rights to the content they intend to use.

  1. Xposure Photos UK Ltd v Khloe Kardashian et al, 2:17-CV-3088 (C.D. Cal).

By: Jaimie Wolbers

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