Software Patents Strike Back – RPL Central v Commissioner of Patents

It’s been a busy year in software patents, all over the world. We’ve had decisions on this issue in Australia, headlined by Research Affiliates in February, and in the US the Federal Circuit split 5:5 in a case concerning an Australian company, Alice v CLS Bank in April. More recently, the New Zealand parliament passed a new Patents Act which …

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Re-thinking the role of IP: a lecture by Dr Francis Gurry

The world’s wealth is increasingly becoming centred on intellectual capital, according to Dr Francis Gurry at his presentation at Melbourne University on Thursday 22 August 2013. Dr Gurry is the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and the highest-ranking Australian official in a United Nations agency. The organisers of the fifth annual Francis Gurry Lecture on Intellectual …

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Blurring the Lines of copyright infringement: Yet another controversy for Robin #Thicke over hit song

Robin Thicke’s hit single “Blurred Lines” has certainly had its fair share of both popularity and controversy. From the success of being Billboard’s No. 1 song and No. 1 album, to the claims of sexism over its lyrics and 18+ film clip and various parody videos criticising its use of #stupidhashtags, the latest development is somewhat less salacious. Thicke and …

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Sexy but too similar? App developers “Bang-ed” up over trade mark dispute

What happens when you take three College aged guys, a few hours of spare time, Red Bull, vodka, and a smartphone? Why, a new “casual sex matchmaking app” called “Bang With Friends”!   Unfortunately for our anonymous trio (yes, despite the “honesty” of the app they refuse to reveal their identities) the hangover may last a while.  In late July 2013, Zynga, makers …

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Just genes? Lessons from the Myriad litigation

Last month the United States Supreme Court ruled that certain naturally occurring DNA sequences (the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations in which are associated with a significantly increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer) were a product of nature that were not rendered patentable by virtue of being isolated from the rest of the genome.  (For further details on the …

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Federal Election 2013: who will be watching you?

The 2013 Australian Federal Election has already been coined the ‘Social Media Election’, but even savvy users who frequently turn to social media platforms to track trending political issues may have been surprised by last week’s announcement that Yahoo!7 and Seven News were partnering with Facebook to provide unique insights into Australian opinions on the election.  Unlike Twitter, which is …

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Rihanna sues Topshop over T-shirt under the “Umbrella ella ella” tort of passing off

Pop sensation Rihanna has successfully sued fashion retailer Topshop in the UK for passing off, after it sold a T-shirt with her famous face without approval.  Topshop licensed the image from an independent photographer, who snapped the singer whilst filming her music video for the single “We Found Love” for the album “Talk That Talk” (2011).  As the photographer owned …

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The Impact of Lookalikes: The UK Intellectual Property Office Weighs In

We all have eating and drinking in common.  Yet our preferences distinguish us. Some of us will only have Maggi 2 Minute Noodles. Others want the noodles, but are delighted if it is a competitively priced home brand product. Some of us love nibbling the wavy layers only of a Smith’s Crisp.  Others are happy to have a chip which …

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Inventor caught in web of precedent

We recently saw the publication of an interesting decision in the United States concerning patent licences, with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit holding that under the terms of a settlement agreement, Marvel, the owners of the Spiderman brand and franchise, were not required to pay royalties to the inventor of a Spiderman toy once the inventor’s …

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