Category Archive for: ‘Subjects’

The (Latest) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A small win for the public domain

We investigate the District Court of Illinois decision Klinger v Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd., confirming that literary characters can be freely used without a licence where copyright has expired on early works in a series. Character elements introduced in later works which are still subject to copyright cannot be used without a licence.

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Patent settlements are up and anti-competitive behaviour is down: EU

Patent settlements are up and anti-competitive settlement behaviour is down in the European Union. The European Commission recently released a report on patent settlement agreements between originator and generic companies in the European pharmaceutical sector which shows a continued low level (7% in 2012) of potentially anti-competitive settlements. The report is the fourth of its kind since the Commission’s competition …

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P*interest? Pyntrest? Pinterest not the owner of its name in the EU

If a recent EU trade mark ruling is upheld, crafty DIY-ers, Martha Stewart wannabes and eager wedding planners could find themselves “pinning” images to a social media platform with a name other than “Pinterest”. This is the result of a recent decision by the Opposition Division of the EU Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market that Pinterest – the …

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Stop your whining: Geographic indication application for “Prosecco” successfully opposed

On 22 November, the Australian Trade Marks Office handed down its decision in Winemakers’ Federation of Australia v European Commission [2013] ATMOGI 1 (22 November 2013) (“Winemakers”), rejecting an application by the European Commission to list “Prosecco” as a geographical indication (“GI”) of Italy. A GI is defined at section 6 Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) as, in relation to …

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High Court bundles up TPG with a $2 million penalty for misleading advertising

The High Court’s reasons for judgment in ACCC v TPG Pty Ltd [2013] HCA 54 serves as a warning to advertisers that campaigns designed to emphasise the most attractive component of an offer must be carefully designed so not to have the tendency to mislead and deceive consumers.  The lesson for advertisers is to ensure that the dominant or headline …

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Google gets green light on Library Project

On 14 November 2013, Judge Denny Chin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found that Google’s “Library Project”, under which it has now scanned tens of millions of books (many of them under copyright) without permission from the rights holders, and made them available in “snippet form”, constituted a “fair use” of the …

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Follow the yellow bit road?: JP Morgan pursues bitcoin-like patent

Digital currencies are a hot topic these days, with their anonymity, freedom from control by centralised banks, and avoidance of merchant transaction fees appealing to various groups around the world. The best-known example of a digital currency is bitcoin, which as recently as last month was trading at over US$1000 per bitcoin (but has since fallen to a far more …

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Storm in a Coffee Cup – Starbucks v “Charbucks”

In the latest instalment in a long-running trade mark battle in the United States, the US Court of Appeals has upheld a decision that the use of “Charbucks” in relation to coffee did not violate Starbucks’ registered trade marks. In 1997, U.S. Black Bear Micro Roastery (whose coffee is apparently unusually darkly roasted) developed a dark coffee blend which they …

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Da ALDI Code: ALDI and the new Grocery Code of Conduct

The Australian Food and Grocery Council and Australia’s two largest supermarket retailers, Coles and Woolworths, have reached agreement on the terms of a new Food and Grocery Prescribed Industry Code of Conduct (the “Code”).  ALDI has thus far refused to sign up to the Code. The new voluntary Code covers several aspects of supermarket regulation including Grocery Supply Agreements and …

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