If you want to know what they’re talking about in trade mark law in the US, you might want to head over to 43(b)log: in particular the posts summarising proceedings from the AALS Section on IP – Parts one, two, three, and four.

In other trade mark news, IPKat reports an ECJ decision (scroll down to C-361/04 P (2006-01-12) Ruiz-Picasso and Others v OHIM) on whether the mark PICARO for vehicles would be likely to be confused with an earlier mark, PICASSO (registered, inter alia, for vehicles). (more…)

News to hand today: the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down its en banc judgment in the Yahoo! case regarding enforcement of the judgment of the French Court in La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et L’Antisemitisme v. Yahoo!, Inc. It would appear that:

  • 3 judges decided to dismiss for lack of ripeness
  • 3 decided to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; thus the case was dismissed, despite the
  • 5 judges who thought that there was both jurisdiction and ripeness.

Huh? I hear you ask? Isn’t the Yahoo! case, like, ancient history in internet terms? Yes indeed, but remember, that we are working on law time here, not internet time. Brief precis of the case over the fold. (more…)

A few of the patent blogs over the last week or so have been reporting a decline in patent litigation in the US, sourced from analysis done by LegalMetrics. But is it so? I’m not so sure… (more…)

The other day I blogged about what was coming up in Australian IP. Not really predictions – these were more statements about the stuff I knew should be coming.

For a bunch of predictions – focused on the US but of course with more general relevance – see Freedom to Tinker’s list of 23.

An interesting press release from IBM yesterday, reported in today’s Australian here. and in the New York Times here (there’s a story in WSJ, too, but it’s subscriber only). In essence, IBM has announced 3 ways it is working with the USPTO, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), members of the open source software community and academia to improve patent quality. Fascinating projects that put ‘peer development’ of knowledge and tools into practice.

[update: in addition to the above sources, it’s worth dropping by Groklaw for more on these initiatives]

More over the fold. (more…)

Earlier this month I posted Part 1 of “What is region coding?”, which described the technology, commercial rationale, and economic effects of this system. This posting is Part 2, and considers the legal implications of region coding, with a focus on developments in the United States and Australia. (more…)

Matt Rimmer has a nice round-up of the year’s IT and IP stories at CCH (registration may be required). It has the usual suspects (Grokster, Sony v Stevens, the Sony rootkit) and also a nice summary of a French decision (Stéphane P and Association UFC v Universal Pictures Video France — Court d’Appeal de Paris) about DRM that prevents DVDs being copied to VHS tapes for private use.

This edition of “What is…?” describes the regional coding systems used by the entertainment industry, with a particular emphasis on DVDs. This article will explain the technology behind region coding, describe how the system is enforced, and speculate on the commercial reasons for the system. It will then consider the economic effects of region coding and its possible legal implications, including a discussion of recent litigation in which region coding has been at issue.

This posting contains Part 1, which provides an introduction to how region coding works from both technological and legal perspectives, as well as the commercial justifications for region coding and its possible economic effects. Part 2 considers the legal issues raised by region coding, in the context of both competition/antitrust law as well as the anti-circumvention provisions that have been adopted as part of copyright law in both Australia and the United States. (more…)

I’ve added Raymond Nimmer’s Contemporary IP Licensing and Information Law blog to our list of links.

Ray tends to post only every other week or so, but his entries are insightful and well argued. Those interested in the Google Print debate might be interested in reading his post on the subject, in which he argues that Google’s controversial scanning project is unlikely to fall under the fair use exception to copyright infringement.

In another post, Ray argues that shrinkwrap and clickwrap licences are enforceable contracts.

There’s been a fair bit of discussion in the last little while over ‘breaking’ the Tamiflu patents. Actually, of course, what we are talking about is not ‘breaking’ patents, as such, but rather, applying exceptions to patent protection, which are well-established both in Australian law, and in international law (via Article 30 of TRIPS, affirmed by the Doha Declaration). This would involve compulsory licensing of the patents – the patentee gets paid, but has no ‘right of veto’ and in effect loses some of the benefits of the monopoly. The debate heightened when Taiwan announced it would be using its rights under international law to have Tamiflu manufactured. (more…)

With all the current terror talk, perhaps it’s time that IP got in on the act. According to the IPKat, and from the New York Sun, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York has filed a trademark application for the phrase ‘If you see, something, say something’, in order to police the phrase and those who use it. This is just wilful misunderstanding of trade mark law. (more…)

Another interesting case that the US Supreme Court might be hearing: FTC v. Schering-Plough. It’s all about the competition law aspects of settlement of patent disputes between pharmaceutical ‘innovator’ companies and generic manufacturers. (more…)

Given the recent attention given to book digitization projects, it is time to step back and consider developments to date. This post will first describe the projects launched by Google and the Open Content Alliance, and the consider some of the legal issues raised by Google Print, which is the subject of two major lawsuits. What follows is somewhat lengthy, but it has taken some space to do this interesting topic justice. (more…)

On Monday, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari (equivalent to the Australian High Court granting special leave) in a patent case, LabCorp v. Metabolite. The case is about patentability of medical processes, and has the potential, according to the Patently-O Blog, of addressing some of the ‘patentability of processes’ issues raised in the Ex p Lundgren case that I’ve commented on before (here and here).

See Patently-O for more detail.

A little while ago I blogged about Ex parte Carl A. Lundgren, a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the US Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO). In that decision, the Board overturned the Examiner’s objection to the patent, holding there is no separate “technological arts” test in determining whether a process is statutory subject matter. The decision potentially broadened the patentability of what you might call ‘pure business methods’ – those not instantiated in ‘technology’ (like software or hardware). (more…)

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