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Pope Francis, 3DS video, Indian patents, human rights v copyright and Schütz v Werit

James Nurton

Today’s analysis of IP developments covers papal trade marks, a patent case on 3D screens, growing tensions over IP in India, another defeat for the Pirate Bay and the UK Supreme Court’s important decision on what constitutes making

Pope FrancisInfallible trade marks

Congratulations to, which as far as I can tell was the first mainstream media outlet to discuss the important issue of trade marks and the new Pope (Trade mark issues for new Pope Francis). Writer Jess Collen also points out that the former pope, Benedict XVI, faces a potential battle with a California rapper named Pope Emeritus (“I don’t care who he is, I ain’t let nobody mess with my brand” – a sentiment which I’m sure many trade mark owners can identify with). If any sort of trade mark proceeding transpires, I hope OHIM or the USPTO will signal the decision with white smoke.

A reasonable damages award for 3D technology?

A jury in New York has awarded inventor Seijiro Tomita $30.2million in damages for Sony’s use of a patent for 3D screens in its 3DS videogame system. Tomita had met with Sony executives to present his patent-pending technology, but they claimed the technology was developed entirely by Sharp, which ended up making the 3DS screens. Although one could question whether the jury understood the technology – and the “cross-point” aspect of Tomita’s patent that Sony crucially did not use – the damages award at least seems low, given Sony expects to sell 15 million 3DS machines this year, at $170 each. Tomita asked for $9.80 from every machine.

Pressure builds on India

Diplomatic tensions over patent protection in India are hotting up. The FT reports that Roy Waldron, chief IP counsel at Pfizer, has attacked the country over its “protectionist intellectual property regime” at a congressional hearing in Washington: he cited the invalidation of the patent for Sutent and the recent decisions on compulsory licensing and suggested that policy was driven by the interests of local generic producers. Meanwhile, discussions on the EU-India FTA are close to resolution, according to reports, and Knowledge Economy International has published what it claims is the latest draft text of the IP chapter. For a view from India, read our interview with IPAB chair Prabha Sridevan, conducted at our India IP & Innovation Forum in Delhi last week.

The Pirate BayHuman rights and pirates

What human rights do pirates have? The IP Kat blog reports on the latest twist in the Pirate Bay saga – a decision from the European Court of Human Rights on whether file sharers have freedom to receive and impart information under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Not surprisingly, the Court unanimously decided not to interfere with the Swedish criminal conviction. Unless they have any other original legal tactics up their sleeves, these particular pirates are well and truly grounded.

The meaning of “make”

I was at a seminar on the unified patent court at Wragge & Co yesterday morning. It happened to coincide with the UK Supreme Court’s decision in the Schütz v Werit patent case, which appeared online just before 10am. I fear more than a few of the patent attorneys, solicitors and barristers attending were distracted from the excellent presentations as they tried to read Lord Neuberger’s words of wisdom on their mobile devices. We have a brief report of the decision online. I suspect most practitioners will welcome it, but let us know what you think. We’ve also posted a blog discussing the controversy over supreme courts in the UK, US and elsewhere. If you’re in the UK next week, the rapid reaction forum being organised by AIPPI-UK on Tuesday should help to explain why exactly it has taken so long for the UK’s distinguished judges to decide what is meant by the word “make”.


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