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.Read More
Late last year, Judge Baird of the Australian Federal Circuit Court handed down a decision in the case of Henley Arch v Del Monaco, a copyright infringement matter in respect of a project home design.
The claim was brought by well-known Australian builder Henley Arch, who readers might also recall from the 2016 decision in Henley Arch v Lucky Homes. The respondent in this case, Dorian Del Monaco, was an individual who owned a property in Pakenham (Melbourne), Victoria.Read More
In Response Clothing Ltd v The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd  EWHC 148 (IPEC), the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (“IPEC”) has issued the first UK decision made since the Court of Justice of the European Union’s controversial decision in Cofemel (C-683/17).
Why does this matter?
The Cofemel decision indicated that there is a harmonised concept of what constitutes a ‘work’ under copyright law throughout the EU, which is not restricted by any defined categories and should not take into account any aesthetic considerations.
Accordingly, there has been much discussion about the UK’s closed list of copyright protectable subject matter under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 (“1988 Act”) and the concepts of ‘artistic works’, ‘sculptures’ and ‘works of artistic craftsmanship’ under section 4 of the 1988 Act and whether these are incompatible with EU law. Previous prominent Court decisions such as the Lucasfilm decision in the Stormtrooper Helmet case have also been thrown into question.
This decision is the first time that a UK Court has had to deal with this apparent incompatibility.Read More
On 22 January 2018, Justice Martino of the Supreme Court of Western Australia delivered his judgment in the case of Milankov Designs & Project Management Pty Ltd v Di Latte & Anor, a copyright infringement case in respect of house plans.
Mr and Mrs Di Latte engaged the plaintiff, Milankov Designs & Project Management Pty Ltd (Milankov), to design and prepare drawings for a home to be built at the Di Lattes’ property. The agreement provided that Milankov would prepare plans for stages of the design and build process – first, the development stage and, second, the construction drawing stage. The Di Lattes agreed to pay Milankov a percentage of the build cost, to be billed to the Di Lattes at various stages throughout the process.
After Milankov had prepared the stage one plans (including plans submitted to council for building licence approval) and the Di Lattes had paid several invoices issued by Milankov, the relationship between the parties broke down. The engagement contract was terminated by the Di Lattes, and Milankov promptly wrote to the Di Lattes putting them on notice that Milankov owned copyright in the plans it had created and that the Di Lattes were not entitled to reproduce the plans without its permission, including by building the house at their property.
Nonetheless, the Di Lattes proceeded to engage an architect to create plans including construction drawings by copying Milankov’s plans, and then to construct a house in accordance with the design.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Queensland (Court) delivered its judgment in the case of Coles v Dormer & Ors, a copyright infringement case about home designs. The Court found that a house built in an exclusive Port Douglas estate was created by copying the design of another house built close by in the same estate, and ordered that the infringing house undergo significant alterations to change its appearance.
John and Edith Bredens were prospective buyers of a home in The Sands, which had been constructed by Port Douglas Builders in accordance with plans created by designer Gregory Skyring. The Bredens were not successful in purchasing the house, which was ultimately bought by Stephen Coles, who gave evidence that he was particularly taken with the unique style of the house.
Earlier this week the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court) delivered its judgment in the case of Tamawood v Habitare Developments, a copyright infringement case in respect of project home designs.
Habitare Developments had engaged designer/builder Tamawood to create designs for project homes for a new development. However, due to a falling out between the parties, Habitare Developments ultimately engaged architects Mondo to create the final plans for the development and engaged another builder to construct the houses. Tamawood commenced proceedings against all parties for copyright infringement. The respondents denied that Tamawood’s designs had been used as a starting point and that copyright had been infringed.
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
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.