28 September 2009

What to avoid for your successfull patenting of a method for playing golf

Yes, this article regards the story of a US case decision. Frankly, where else the Patent and Trademark Office, but also several courts would spend time and effort to examine the application for a method of playing games – a subject matter clearly excluded under the European Patent Convention and its underlying jurisdictions.

In Re Lister, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s outlines the funny story of a

Clinical Psychologist Having Become Tired

of  “the horrendously slow pace of a game of golf” and willing to seek intellectual property protection for a method increasing both, game’s speed and players’ scores.

In a proceeding without professional help, the applicant first obtained a registration from the US Copyright Office. This very fact almost deprived him from patent grant…

25 September 2009

Google’s AdWords do not infringe trade marks?

Foto0016photo © 2007 Stefan | more info (via: Wylio)

Google has been no stranger to legal controversy in recent years. One of the hotly contested issues courts are currently debating involves the legality of Google AdWords, Google’s lucrative advertising program that is the source of nearly half of its revenue. The AdWords program allows advertisers to purchase words or phrases related to their businesses that will bring up their websites under “sponsored links” when those keywords are typed into Google’s search engine.

The issue at the center of the controversy is whether Google can legally sell and advertise those words which are trademarked terms. For businesses looking to protect their trade marks, Google’s practice of selling and advertising trademarked terms has raised questions as to its liability for trade mark infringement.
The French Cour de Cassation has recently made a referral to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) with questions concerning the use of Google AdWords. These issues arose out of litigation brought against Google by trade mark owners, including Louis Vuitton, who object to the reservation by Google customers of search keywords matching their registered trade marks.

In his Opinion, Advocate General Poiares Maduro suggests that Google has not committed a trade mark infringement by allowing advertisers to select, in AdWords, keywords corresponding to trade marks.

The Advocate General further recalls that trade mark rights cannot be construed as classical property rights enabling the trade mark owner to exclude any other use. Accordingly, internet users’ access to information concerning the trade mark should not be limited to or by the trade mark owner even if it involves a trade mark which has a reputation.

Advocate General’s opinions are not binding on the ECJ, though the Court follws them in about 80% of all cases.

In my personal view this Advocate General’s opinion is very problematic for trade mark proprietors as, given a coresponding judgment of the Court, it will weaken proprietors’ position and ease springboard marketers and imitators to exploit the goodwill and reputation arising out of the trade marks in question.

24 September 2009

Eminem in a legal battle against Apple’s iTunes

Eminemphoto © 2010 Courtney Bolton | more info (via: Wylio)

Associated Press informs in a very current report that a settlement attempt between Eight Mile Style LLC, being Eminem’s music publisher, and Apple Inc. has failed.

Eminem’s music publisher accuses Apple for making available 93 songs of Eminem on iTunes without having obtained relevant consent. Apple alleges it has a valid agreement with Aftermath Records, which controls the Eminem sound recordings at issue in the case.

13 September 2009

New Commission’s communication on enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market

The European Commission has published a new communication (COM 2009/467) to the Council, the Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee. In this communication the Commission acknowledges that the Union is the home of some very large and successful businesses in the world, who consider IPR to be amongst their most precious commercial possessions. The Commission further acknowledges that counterfeiting and piracy have a dramatic and damaging effect on business in Europe, wherefore certain measures Enforcement Directive, Customs Regulation) to better combat such counterfeiting and piracy were undertaken in the past.

The Commission

Seeks to Support and Enhance the Enforcement

by complementing the existing regulatory framework with non-legislative measures to make for more collaborative and focused enforcement across the Internal Market, in particular by:

  • supporting enforcement through an EU Counterfeiting and Piracy Observatory;
  • fostering administrative cooperation throughout the Internal Market;
  • facilitating voluntary arrangements between stakeholders.

The Commission suggests that the Observatory serve as the central resource for gathering, monitoring and reporting information and data related to all IPR infringements.

The Commission views s greater administrative cooperation in the field of IPR enforcement in the wider context of a partnership between the Commission and the Member States in implementing a borderless internal market.

Concerning its last point, arrangements between stakeholders, the Commission stresses that such solutions have to be

Compliant with the Existing Legal Framework

and should neither restrict in any way the fundamental rights of EU citizens, such as the freedom of expression and information, the right to privacy and the protection of personal data.