1. Tackling EU trade marks
It's over a year late, but it looks like the European
Commission’s proposals for reforming trade marks
in Europe are close to being finalised. They’ve
not been published, but Managing IP has seen drafts of the
changes to the
Trade Marks Directive,
CTM Regulation and
Fees Regulation. Will trade mark owners/applicants welcome
them? On the whole, probably: the Commission has tried to solve
some tricky issues that have emerged on the limits of the
legislation – the graphical representation requirement
and goods-in-transit for example. And to tackle the alleged
cluttering of the register the Commission wants to make it
cheaper to file in just one class rather than three. But with
CTM fees so low anyway, will that make a difference to
applicants’ behaviour? This will be the start of a
2. Arguing over
CLS v Alice could be the most important patent case
of this year: on Friday all the active judges of the Court of
Appeals for the Federal Circuit reheard arguments in the
dispute concerning patent eligibility of software. Dennis
Crouch on the PatentyO blog has a good summary of the oral
CLS Bank v. Alice Corp: Oral Arguments Lead to More
Questions) and you can also listen to the
proceedings on the Court’s own website.
Outgoing USPTO director David Kappos recently told Managing IP
software patents need addressing, a view that is echoed by
companies such as
Google. But with the
Myriad gene patent case pending at the US Supreme Court,
and in the light of recent reverses, will the Federal Circuit
dare to be bold?
3. Judges on TV
The Federal Circuit’s audio recording is great,
but the UK Supreme Court goes one better with its live video
stream, available on the Sky website.
Yesterday and today you can watch IP barristers Henry Carr QC
and Michael Silverleaf QC do battle over the reproduction of
newspaper headlines in the
Public Relations Consultants Association v NLA case
(often still referred to as Meltwater). Judgment in this
copyright dispute is expected in the next few months, but in
the meantime the to-and-fro between barristers and the five
judges is pretty entertaining (though traditionalists will be
disappointed that the Supreme Court has done away with wigs and
Infographic of the day
Thanks to Melbourne IT DBS for news of
another record-breaking year for UDRP cases at WIPO,
complete with illustration featuring among other things a
dancing mutt in a bikini. The UDRP has been good for brand
owners (complainants won 88% of cases before WIPO last year)
though with the number of cases increasing every year it can
hardly be said to have deterred cybersquatters. With the first
new gTLDs just months away from launching, that is a worry.
News that Icann is close to solving the dilemma of how to
create a cheap, quick alternative for slam-dunk cases (URS in
the jargon) is promising.
5. Hello Kim!
It was just over a year
Kim Dotcom first came to public attention, with a raid on
his New Zealand mansion that launched a hundred lawsuits.
Sadly, as the legal battles progressed, Kim went quiet
– before emerging at the end of last year with
a new file-sharing service to succeed the shut-down
Megaupload. He’s also back on twitter, with messages
such as: "After we win our case I am going to buy an Olympic
size swimming pool... filled with the tears of copyright
extremists." If Kim ever tires of the copyright piracy
business, you can’t help thinking he would be
perfectly cast as the next Bond villain.
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