“No one can own the law” – United States confirms copyright protection does not extend to works of legislators or judges

On 27 April 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) handed down its decision in Georgia Et Al v Public Resource Org, Inc. We set out what happened, what the Supreme Court found, the implications of the decision and we look at whether a similar principle applies in Australia. The Supreme Court held that works authored by legislators in their legislative capacity were ineligible for copyright protection. The decision extends the United States “government edicts doctrine” which embodies the principle that “no one can own the law”. read more...
Subjects: Copyright

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Ouch! Federal Court of Australia imposes $4.5 million-dollar penalty for misleading marketing of pain-relief products

The Federal Court has handed down a significant $4.5 million penalty over misleading claims made with respect to the over-the-counter muscular pain relief products, ‘Voltaren Osteo Gel’ and ‘Voltaren Emulgel’.  The decision in Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Australia Pty Ltd (No 2) [2020] FCA 724 makes it clear that the read more...

Love is in the Ear – Federal Court of Australia finds copyright infringed by the sound of lyrics sung

On 24 April 2020, Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia gave judgment in relation to a copyright dispute concerning the iconic Australian pop-hit classic, Love is in the Air, finding that a substantial part of the song had been copied by a US pop-duo, Glass Candy, and by France’s national airline, Air France, read more...
Subjects: Copyright

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Trade mark infringement: a “Malishus” use in domain names

What if someone registers a domain name outside of Australia for their business, where the domain name corresponds to someone else’s registered trade mark in Australia?  Will this constitute an infringement even where the domain name in question is not specifically directed at Australia but is accessible in Australia? The recent decision in Lamont v Malishus & Ors (No 4) [2019] FCCA 3206 found that this can still be a trade mark infringement and, in fact, can be considered “Malishus”. read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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Hyperlinks killed the radio star: High Court of England and Wales “Tunes In” to the radio streaming debate

Last month, the High Court of England and Wales delivered its judgment in a test-case for copyright and Internet communications: Warner Music UK Ltd & Sony Music UK Ltd v TuneIn Inc. [2019] EWHC 2923. The case concerned the activity of “Tune-In” an online platform that allows users to access over 100,000 Internet radio stations worldwide. read more...
Subjects: Copyright

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Manner of manufacture and software-based inventions: Patent eligibility test re-affirmed but limited further clarity provided by Australian Appeals Court

After much anticipation and a 10 month wait since the appeal was heard in November 2018, the expanded panel of five Federal Court judges in Encompass Pty Ltd v Infotrack Pty Ltd have delivered their decision, finding that they were “not persuaded that the primary judge erred in concluding that each [Encompass patent in suit] does not claim an invention that is a manner of manufacture within the meaning of section 6 of the Statute of Monopolies”.  Each of the Encompass patents in suit have accordingly been found to be invalid. read more...
Subjects: Patents

Beer in the clear: Full Federal Court declares no prohibition on ‘Pacific Ale’ trade mark

Trouble brewing In the past few years the Australian craft beer market has experienced significant growth, with hundreds of independent breweries springing up around the country.   But competition is not always friendly and in 2015 trouble began brewing between two interstate rivals, Stone & Wood and Elixir.  The dispute eventually spilled over into the courts, read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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Second throw of the dice unsuccessful: Full Federal Court confirms Hepatitis C drug patent is invalid

The recent decision of the Full Court in Idenix Pharmaceuticals v Gilead Sciences [2017] FCAFC 196 illustrates the power of the grounds of lack of utility and lack of sufficiency under section 40 of the Patents Act when challenging the validity of a patent. The decision concerned lack of utility and lack of sufficiency as those grounds read more...
Subjects: Patents

In Good Shape – the Federal Court’s reminder to fit-out and shape your trade mark protection

In the recent case of Shape Shopfitters Pty Ltd v Shape Australia Pty Ltd (No 3) [2017] FCA 865, the Federal Court of Australia considered whether certain marks that included the word “SHAPE” were deceptively similar: Applicant’s registered mark   Respondent’s marks Although a large proportion of the decision focused on whether there had been read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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