In this round-up of recent IP law news, we report on newly published guidance on the practical use of the Patent Box, the continuing battle between Samsung and Apple, unlawful advertising at the Olympics and the use of domain name opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk.
On 8 August 2012, HMRC published much needed guidance on the practical effect and use of the Patent Box. The Patent Box allows companies to apply a lower rate of corporation tax to earnings derived from patented inventions and other qualifying innovations. The HMRC guidance sets out who the Patent Box will apply to, which patents are eligible, what income can benefit from the relief and how to claim this relief. The guidance can be found here.
Samsung v Apple
In the ongoing struggle for supremacy between the two technology companies, a US court has ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05bn in damages after a patent dispute and has rejected claims Apple breached its rival's technologies. Apple claimed it had been victim to abuses of seven patents, including designs which allowed Apple products to have the ‘bounce-back response’ when a user scrolls beyond the end of a list as well as the ability to double tap to zoom in. Several courts throughout the world have produced different responses to similar patent battles between the two companies.
Advertising on an Olympic scale
The Olympic brand is more heavily protected than ever before, with tightly enforced rules governing what athletes, sponsors and the general public can and cannot do in relation to the brand. One of the more high profile stories in relation to this was that of swimmer Michael Phelps, whose photo in what seemed to be a Louis Vuitton advertising campaign appeared on Twitter during the Games. This is strictly forbidden according to the IOC’s rule 40 and athletes could be disqualified for abusing such rules. Thankfully (for Michael and his gold medal haul), this storm seems to have blown over, with Louis Vuitton releasing a statement noting that the photos were released without consent earlier than planned.
A recent spate of domain name disputes includes that of opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk, which was set up by a disgruntled consumer who was not pleased with the results of laser eye surgery provided by Optical Express. Optical Express sought to have this domain name transferred to it, believing it to be detrimental to the brand and in particular its trade marks. Nominet however disagreed, stating that the domain name was used as a criticism website and that no competent English reader would believe it was associated with the trade marks of Optical Express.