Bringing you regular news of key developments in intellectual property law.

COPYRIGHT

Stichting Brein v Ziggo BV and another, Case C-610/15

In response to a reference from the Dutch courts, Advocate General Spzunar (the “AG”) has provided an opinion on whether a P2P file sharing search engine operator makes a communication to the public under Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive by virtue of allowing internet users to share files containing copyright works on P2P networks. The AG considered that such activity constituted a communication to the public where the search engine operator was aware of the fact that a work was made available on the network without consent of the copyright holder and did not take action to prevent access to the work.

Should the CJEU not follow the AG’s opinion, the AG considered that copyright holders should be permitted to obtain an injunction ordering intermediaries to block access to an indexing site of a P2P network if the operator of that site can, under national law, be held liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network.

For the full text of the decision, please click here.

Signature Realty Ltd v Fortis Developments Ltd & Anor [2016] EWHC 3583 (Ch)

The High Court has held that the copyright in an architect’s drawings was infringed in a case where the claimant property developer who obtained the planning permission (and aborted the deal due to lack of funding) was not the developer who built the building. The defendants had used the drawings for marketing and tendering purposes and the defendant’s architects had based their own drawings on the works. The case analyses the blurred line between benefiting from planning permission attached to land and avoiding infringing copyright in the drawings that form the basis for that permission.

For the full text of the decision, please click here.

DESIGNS

Antrax It v EUIPO (Thermosiphons pour radiateurs), Joined Cases T-828/14 and T-829/14

The General Court has found that two registered Community designs for the shapes of radiators are invalid on the basis that the designs lacked individual character. The proprietor of the designs had sought to argue that the state of the art was saturated to the extent that, in the assessment of individual character, the informed user would be more attentive to differences of detail between the conflicting designs. However, the evidence submitted by the proprietor was not sufficiently clear, precise and coherent. The General Court, in upholding the decision of the Board of Appeal on this issue has provided some useful guidance on the types and extent of evidence that may be required to prove saturation.

For the full text of the decision, please click here.

TRADE MARKS AND PASSING OFF

Argos Ltd v Argos Systems Inc [2017] EWHC 231 (Ch)

The High Court has rejected a claim for trade mark infringement and passing off brought by the retailer Argos Ltd. The Defendant, a US-based company which provides Computer Aided Design systems, was the proprietor of the domain name www.argos.com. Argos Ltd contended that the Defendant’s use of the sign ARGOS in the domain name and in conjunction with its website was unlawful, in particular due to the presence of ads for Argos Ltd placed on the Defendant’s webpage by Google AdSense technology.

The Claimant’s claim failed on various grounds. In particular, the Court considered that the Claimant had expressly consented to the acts complained of by choosing to participate in the Google AdWords scheme.

For the full text of the decision, please click here:

PATENTS

Icescape Ltd v Ice-World International BV and others [2017] EWHC 42 (Pat)

In finding in favour of an alleged patent infringer, the High Court held that a patent for a mobile ice rink was invalid for prior use, because the priority date could not be maintained and was therefore deemed to be its filing date. This was due to the fact that the technical disclosure of the priority document did not disclose elements of the claimed invention. The case on infringement failed and there was no defence to the threats claim pursuant to section 70(2A) of the Patents Act 1977. Accordingly, the application for a declaration of non-infringement succeeded.