The question in Conor Medsystems Inc v The University of British Columbia (No.2) [2006] FCA 32 (Finkelstein J) was this:

  1. if you have two joint patentees
  2. one of those joint patentees is a University which claims title through two people claiming to be inventors,
  3. but it turns out that those people were not in fact inventors,
  4. is the patent liable to revocation, on the grounds that it was not granted to the actual inventors or those claiming under them even though the other patentee is not affected by the problem?


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…)

2005 was one of those years where the IP developments just kept coming. Kazaa, Fair Dealing/Fair Use, a TPM law inquiry, Stevens v Sony, the occasional patent judgment, another government inquiry. And that’s just the Australian stuff. We also of course had stuff like the Grokster judgment, developments in the Blackberry litigation … more treaty-making. It was hard keeping up. Matt Rimmer has done a run down over here.

Instead of doing my own round up, I thought it might be fun to list up the things that are still to come in Australian IP. Just so I can feel exhausted before we even really start the year. So, over the fold, my round up of developments to expect, and issues to come, in Australian IP law. (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.

A number of the more influential media have recent articles on the NTP vs RIM BlackBerry saga. The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker have more or less pro-RIM stories, while The Economist has a somewhat pro-NTP story.

There’s a fair bit more to this story than is usually reported. Leaving aside the two perennials (the appropriateness of allowing patent claims for independent invention that did not actually copy the patentee’s method, but independently recreated it; and the appropriateness of ‘patent troll’ tactics — which may really be an argument about the standard for laches or estoppel against a patentee) there are two meatier issues. (more…)

The Australian is reporting that lawyers for MIPI will seek an order from the Federal Court to shut down the Kazaa network, because Sharman has failed to implement keyword filtering that it was required to introduce. (more…)

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Kazaa has blocked access to its network from Australia, in response to its loss in the Federal Court in September. (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…)

Various media are reporting how a British teenager escaped conviction after “mailbombing” his former employer. Mailbombing is a form of denial of service attack – in this case, the teen sent 5 million emails, which overwhelmed the target’s mail server. (more…)

One of the passages in the recent High Court case on anti-circumvention laws (or the Oz-DMCA), Stevens v Sony which attracted a little bit of attention, even excitement from people I know the following part, from Justice Kirby’s judgment:

[216] The provisions of the Australian Constitution affording the power to make laws with respect to copyright operate in a constitutional and legal setting that normally upholds the rights of the individual to deal with his or her property as that individual thinks fit. In that setting, absent the provision of just terms, the individual is specifically entitled not to have such rights infringed by federal legislation in a way that amounts to an impermissible inhibition upon those rights constituting an acquisition. This is not the case in which to explore the limits that exist in the powers of the Australian Parliament, by legislation purporting to deal with the subject matter of copyright, to encumber the enjoyment of lawfully acquired chattel property in the supposed furtherance of the rights of copyright owners. However, limits there are.

[218] To the extent that attempts are made to push the provisions of Australian copyright legislation beyond the legitimate purposes traditional to copyright protection at law, the Parliament risks losing its nexus to the constitutional source of power. That source postulates a balance of interests such as have traditionally been observed by copyright statutes, including the Copyright Act.’

But what do these passages really mean? (more…)

RIM ruling risks US Blackberry shutdown; 419 scams; and How ATM fraud nearly brought down British banking – see full post for details (more…)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this past year the High Court of Australia has upheld a record number of appeals from the New South Wales Court of Appeals:

Herald research shows that of 52 cases, 40 decisions of lower courts have been reversed – a success rate of almost 80 per cent.

Last year it upheld only 34 of 55, and in 2003 it was 33 of 56. Last year only 12 of 20 appeals against NSW decisions succeeded.

This means, of course, that in many cases the High Court has found that the trial judge decided the case correctly in the first instance — as was the case in Sony v Stephens, where the High Court agreed with Justice Sackville’s original finding that Eddy Stephens was not liable for having circumvented a technological protection measure.

Are newspaper headlines protected by copyright?

The Japanese Intellectual Property High Court (a branch court of the Tokyo High Court) has ruled that a small Internet company’s unauthorised use of headlines from Japan’s best-selling newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, is illegal.

Strangely, although the company, Digital Alliance Corporation, has been ordered to pay about Â¥237,700 (about US$2,000 or A$2,758) to the Yomiuri, and the court said that the use of the headlines was illegal, Judge Tomokatsu Tsukahara noted that as headlines are not mentioned in Japan’s Copyright Law the law is not completely clear, and he did not order Digital Alliance to take down the headlines from its website. Presumably Digital Alliance’s use of the headlines was illegal for a reason other than copyright infringement. (more…)

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently decided a rather fascinating case, HGI Associates v. Wetmore Printing Co.. It begins:

In this case, the Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”), through its subsidiary, Microsoft Licensing, Inc. (“MSLI”), and business partner, Wetmore, attempted to set an ill-conceived trap to ensnare a suspected software pirate, HGI. The trap, however, only managed to ensnare Wetmore.


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