Category: Litigation

1
Indirect Patent Infringement Down Under
2
Does Brexit Always Mean Brexit?
3
The Kremlin’s Intellectual Property Cold War: Legalizing Patent Theft with Decree 299
4
Ed Sheeran in “Shape of You” Court Battle
5
Does Reputation Ensure Distinctive Character of a Trade Mark? Not Necessarily
6
F45 Cops a Punch in Further Australian Decision on Patents for Computer Implemented Inventions
7
Substance Over Form: The Importance of Substantive Grounds in Parallel District-Court Litigation and Prior Petition IPR Denials in OpenSky Indus., LLC v. VLSI Tech. LLC
8
Ferrari Obtains New Guidance From the CJEU on Protection of Parts Under the Unregistered Community Design Regime
9
Federal Circuit Further Clarifies Venue in Hatch-Waxman Cases
10
The Dangers of Informal Licensing Agreements – An Update on the Hardingham v RP Data Case

Indirect Patent Infringement Down Under

The issue of contributory infringement of a patent under the Australian Patents Act 1990 (Act) does not often arise for consideration by the Australian judicial system. When it does arise, the question of whether or not the product supplied is a ‘staple commercial product’ under the relevant provisions of the Act is always of particular interest.

In only a few cases has the impugned product been held to be a staple commercial product, and so any case that expands upon that product class is a particularly valuable aid. It is therefore of interest that the Full Court of the Australian Federal Court has recently considered contributory infringement in Hood v Down Under Enterprises International Pty Limited [2022] FCAFC 69.

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Does Brexit Always Mean Brexit?

The General Court recently decided the case Nowhere v EUIPO (Case T-281/21) and overturned the EUIPO decision (and general position) on the validity of UK earlier rights in the context of EU oppositions post-Brexit.

The EUIPO Communication No 2/20 made clear that the EUIPO will treat all UK rights to cease to be ‘earlier rights’ for the purposes of inter partes proceedings. However, the General Court held that the EUIPO Second Board of Appeal made an error in rejecting an opposition solely due to the UK earlier rights losing validity in the EU post-Brexit and that the relevant date to assess the validity of UK earlier rights should be the filing date of the opposed application.

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The Kremlin’s Intellectual Property Cold War: Legalizing Patent Theft with Decree 299

Russia’s bold response to Western economic sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine now includes what amounts to legalizing patent theft against “unfriendly countries.” On March 5, 2022, the Kremlin issued Decree 299, which states that Russian companies and individuals can use inventions, utility models and industrial designs without owner permission or compensation, if the patent hails from a list of “unfriendly countries.”1 Specifically, the decree sets compensation for patent infringement at “0%” if the patent holder is a citizen of, is registered in, or has a primary place of business or profit in any of the 48 countries Russia previously designated as “unfriendly.”2 Unsurprisingly, the list includes the United States, Great Britain, European Union members, Australia, and other critics of Russia’s actions against Ukraine.

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Ed Sheeran in “Shape of You” Court Battle

Singer Ed Sheeran is currently giving evidence in a three week High Court copyright trial over his 2017 chart-topping hit “Shape of You.”

Sheeran has been accused by two musicians, Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, that his hit song, “Shape of You” plagiarises “particular lines and phrases” of their 2015 composition, “Oh Why.” The two songs in question share a similar melody.

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Does Reputation Ensure Distinctive Character of a Trade Mark? Not Necessarily

The General Court of the European Union (EGC) handed down its decision on the invalidity proceeding brought against the well-known Moon Boot 3-D trade mark registration. The GC took a close look into the distinctiveness of 3D signs, providing new guidance on the subject.

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F45 Cops a Punch in Further Australian Decision on Patents for Computer Implemented Inventions

The scorecard against computer implemented inventions being patentable in Australia took another hit this week when the Federal Court revoked two innovation patents from global fitness giant, F45 in F45 Training Pty Ltd v Body Fit Training Company Pty Ltd (No 2) [2022] FCA 96. Justice Nicholas of the Federal Court held that F45’s innovation patents, which involved a computer implemented system for configuring and operating one or more fitness studios, were invalid and even if they were valid, rival fitness franchise Body Fit Training did not infringe them.

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Substance Over Form: The Importance of Substantive Grounds in Parallel District-Court Litigation and Prior Petition IPR Denials in OpenSky Indus., LLC v. VLSI Tech. LLC

On 23 December 2021, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) instituted inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 7,725,759 B2 (“the ’759 patent”). See OpenSky Indus., LLC v. VLSI Tech. LLC IPR2021-01064, Paper 17 (Dec. 23, 2021). Petitioner OpenSky Industries, LLC (“OpenSky”) relied on expert declarations of Dr. Sylvia D. Hall-Ellis and Dr. Bruce Jacob originally filed by Intel Corporation in two other IPR proceedings (“Intel IPRs”).1 Indeed, the declaration included the same coversheet that accompanied the declaration in the Intel IPR. The Board analyzed OpenSky’s Petition under §314(d) and §325(d), declining to deny institution, finding, in part, that since Fintiv and General Plastic did not warrant discretionary denial, the arguments, which were almost identical to those made in the Intel IPRs, deserved to see their day in court at the PTAB.

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Ferrari Obtains New Guidance From the CJEU on Protection of Parts Under the Unregistered Community Design Regime

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has handed down its decision in the case Ferrari v. Mansory Design on the scope of protection of Unregistered Community Designs (case C 123/20). This case is particularly relevant as it shines a new light on the scope of protection of part of a product under the Unregistered Community Designs (UCD) regime.

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Federal Circuit Further Clarifies Venue in Hatch-Waxman Cases

Last year, in Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Federal Circuit confirmed that 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) is the sole venue provision for domestic defendants in Hatch-Waxman actions.1 On Friday 5 November 2021, the Federal Circuit provided even greater clarity on venue rules in such cases, concluding that, for venue purposes, only submission of the ANDA qualifies as an act of infringement, not any action related to the submission.2

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The Dangers of Informal Licensing Agreements – An Update on the Hardingham v RP Data Case

In February 2020, we wrote about the Federal Court’s decision in Hardingham v RP Data Pty Ltd, in which Justice Thawley held that RP Data (the operator of a real estate commercial information database) did not infringe copyright owned by Real Estate Marketing (REMA) and its sole director, Mr Hardingham, in images and floorplans created for real estate listings. Justice Thawley found that REMA/Mr Hardingham had effectively authorised the use of their copyright materials by RP Data, via a chain of implied licences and sub-licences from REMA/Mr Hardingham to real estate agencies, to the operator of realestate.com.au and ultimately to RP Data. This was despite the fact that there was no clear or written agreement between REMA/Mr Hardingham and the real estate agencies to whom the copyright images and floorplans were supplied.

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