Facebook launches new trade mark protection mechanism for members’ usernames

 

Since last Saturday (14 June), users of the popular social networking site have been able to to customise the URL of their profile pages, making them more distinctive and easier to remember.

Aliases were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, which sparked a ‘land rush’ to claim the most popular names.  Most common firstnames and surnames were claimed within minutes, leaving many disappointed at having to settle for ‘facebook.com/john.smith5549’.

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Chocolate: the “flavour of the month” in European intellectual property law too …

It’s good to see that European intellectual property lawyers are grappling with issues surrounding the appearance and packaging of chocolate as much as we are here in Australia (albeit in a slightly different context).

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UPDATED: Sweet rewards

Updated: Mallesons has published an alert giving further analysis of the decision – available here.

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Bavaria, beer, and bad grammar: how to avoid s 61 of the Trade Marks Act

In a recent Federal Court case, the Brewery Association of Bavaria (BBA) claimed that the German state of Bavaria was so synonymous with beer that the word “BAVARIA” on a beer label would amount to a geographical indicator (GI), contrary to s 61 of the Trade Marks Act (the Act).  Section 61 prevents the registration of a mark which contains an indicator that the product came from a particular region and has a quality or reputation attributable to that region.

The mark opposed by BBA was a beer label containing the words:

BAVARIA
HOLLAND
BEER

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Final witness statements no longer privileged

Two recent decisions of the Full Federal Court and the NSW Supreme Court have displaced the long-held presumption that final witness statements are protected by legal professional privilege.  The witness statements in question were witness statements that had been served on a party, though were not ultimately relied upon at trial.  These cases suggest that it may now be far easier to obtain final witness statements th

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“Three strikes and you’re out” law overturned by the French Constitutional Council

The French Constitutional Council ruled on 10 June 2009 that the Création and Internet Law (known more colloquially known as the  “loi Hadopi” or the “three strikes and you’re out” law) was unconstitutional.  Interestingly, the Council characterised free access to the internet as a human right, that could not be taken away by an administrative authority. 

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Inventors speak: IPRIA patent infringement survey

On Tuesday 9 June, I attended an IPRIA seminar at which Kimberlee Weatherall (UQ) and Assoc Prof Beth Webster (Melbourne) of IPRIA presented the res

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The perils of enforcing US patent rights: Developments in declaratory judgment jurisprudence

The US Federal Circuit recently held that when seeking a declaratory judgment in relation to a patent held by a foreign entity, specific personal jurisdiction is only appropriate where that entity has sufficient contacts with the jurisdiction in which the judgment is pursued.  

The rationale for this is found in the due process requirements in the US Constitution.  Essentially, jurisdiction is appropriate over an entity when it would be fair to haul it before courts in that forum.  Fairness, in turn, can be established where:

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US Supreme Court to rule on business method patents in Bilski

A data processing system for pooling the assets of investors; a method for structuring a financial transaction to protect an individual’s assets; a method of hedging against the risk of a spike in the price of coal: are these patentable inventions?

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