Category: Technology

1
AI Can Invent – Australia is First to Recognise Non-Human Inventorship
2
Finally – German Constitutional Court Clears the Way for the Unified Patent Court
3
Just One More Thing For Swatch and Apple to Fight About
4
Amendments to China’s Copyright Law
5
The NFT Explosion – What Lawyers Need to Know
6
Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague breaches the UK Advertising Standards Authority promotion rules
7
Advertising in the Time of Coronavirus
8
A Welcome Proposal to Introduce a Grace Period Into the Australian Designs Act
9
New rules for .au domain names to launch on 12 April 2021
10
Australia aligns with the U.S. and EU by adopting ‘exhaustion of rights’ doctrine

AI Can Invent – Australia is First to Recognise Non-Human Inventorship

The Australian Federal Court recently handed down its first-instance judgement in Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879 where the central issue considered was whether an artificial intelligence (AI) system could be an ‘inventor’ for the purposes of the Australian Patents Act 1990 (Act) and its corresponding regulations. The Court found that an AI system can be an inventor – where ‘inventor’ may be construed broadly to include a ‘person or thing that invents’1. This decision puts Australia in the spotlight as a favourable country to patent AI-created inventions – for now. Given the subject-matter and controversy generated by this decision, an appeal to the Full Federal Court is almost certain.

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Finally – German Constitutional Court Clears the Way for the Unified Patent Court

Today the German Federal Constitutional Court rejected two applications for an interim injunction against the German implementation of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). The outcome of the decisions is a clear yes to a European patent court system!

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Just One More Thing For Swatch and Apple to Fight About

Since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, Swatch, a well-known Swiss watch manufacturer, has been involved in a number of trade mark disputes against Apple regarding their overlapping product markets.

These disputes have concerned the marks ‘I-WATCH’ and ‘I-SWATCH’, ‘TICK DIFFERENT’ and ‘THINK DIFFERENT’ and, more recently, the mark ‘ONE MORE THING’.

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Amendments to China’s Copyright Law

The first substantial amendments to China’s Copyright Law in 20 years were passed in November 2020 and will come into effect on 1 June 2021 (the Amendments). The Amendments primarily focus on enhancing protections for copyright owners, better aligning China’s Copyright Law with international standards, and implementing the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances that entered into force in April 2020.

The heavy deterrence-related focus of the revised Copyright Law will strengthen protections for copyright owners, particularly relating to digital piracy.

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The NFT Explosion – What Lawyers Need to Know

First there were CryptoKitties. Then came Digital art, CryptoPunks and NBA tokens. But when Beeple’s digital art piece sold at Christie’s for $69 million, the mania truly  began.  And as with any wave of media mania, also came the groundswell of negative media and hand-wringing about NFTs.   Of course, NFTs are not all evil nor are they a panacea for artists and musicians. If properly issued and positioned, they can provide a win-win for both artists and collectors.

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Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague breaches the UK Advertising Standards Authority promotion rules

An £8,000 Instagram giveaway promoted by Love Island contestant Molly-Mae Hague, breached the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) promotion rules, a recent decision of the ASA has determined.

In September 2020, Ms Hague (who has more than 5 million followers on Instagram, and 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube), offered one of her followers the chance to win approximately £8,000 worth of luxury designer goods, including handbags, a laptop and products from her fake tan range. To enter, her followers were asked to like the Instagram post, tag a friend and follow her personal Instagram page, the Instagram page of her tanning brand and to subscribe to her YouTube channel.

The Instagram post in question was liked close to 1.2 million times and attracted almost 3 million comments.

After the giveaway, the ASA received 12 complaints from individuals who believed that not all of the entrants were included in the ‘final draw’ and so did not have an equal and fair chance of winning. The complainants challenged whether: (i) the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance; and (ii) the promotion was administered fairly.

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Advertising in the Time of Coronavirus

COVID-19 and the many national lockdowns that have followed have caused a huge shift in advertising and marketing. Suddenly, everyone is at home and receiving nearly all content digitally; through their phones, tablets and TVs, and advertising budgets have been sliced and squeezed as companies shift scarce resources to other parts of their business.

Regulators are faced with a new challenge and responsibility to protect consumers from companies who would price gouge and profit from panic caused by COVID-19. The UK regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has published a fair number of decisions and guidance in relation to the coronavirus.

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A Welcome Proposal to Introduce a Grace Period Into the Australian Designs Act

The Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 (Bill), with important changes to designs law, is currently before Senate for consideration. It includes a much-anticipated change to implement a grace period that will allow designers to publish their designs before applying for design protection.

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New rules for .au domain names to launch on 12 April 2021

The .au Domain Administration (auDA) has announced new auDA Rules that will change the eligibility, allocation and terms for .au domain registration and renewal. These will come into effect on 12 April 2021 and can be accessed here.

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Australia aligns with the U.S. and EU by adopting ‘exhaustion of rights’ doctrine

The High Court of Australia’s recent decision Calidad Pty Ltd v Seiko Epson Corporation [2020] HCA 41 (Calidad) has more closely aligned Australian patent law with its U.S. and European counterparts. Key takeaways from this decision are:

  • the ‘doctrine of exhaustion of rights’ has replaced the ‘implied licence doctrine’;
  • a patent owner’s exclusive rights are extinguished by the first sale of the patented goods;
  • innovators have greater scope to reuse products without risking patent infringement; and
  • patentees seeking greater control over post-sale use should do so through contract law.
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