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Showing posts from August, 2011

Unitary Patents: Spain and Italy throw in their 2 cents

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Compared to Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland we don't do very well in the European patent application stakes but there are two large European countries that do even worse than us, namely Spain and Italy. According to the European Patent Office there were 4,088 patent applications from Italy in 2010 and 1,436 from Spain compared to 27,354 from Germany, 9,530 from France, 6,742 from Switzerland, 5,957 from the Netherlands and 5,402 from the United Kingdom.
Most people in the United Kingdom who have an opinion on the subject believe that a European patent for the whole European Union would be a very good thing. At page 25 of his report, Professor Hargreaves recommended that the UK "should attach the highest immediate priority to achieving a unified EU patent court and EU patent system, which promises significant economic benefits to UK business" which recommendation the government has accepted. While we may not be good Europeans in every respect we have alwa…

Patent Litigation in Northern Ireland: Siemens AG v Seagate Technology

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"Litigate patents in Northern Ireland? Yes, it can be done" was the headline of the PatLit blog for its case note on Siemens A.G. v Seagate Technology (Ireland) Ltd[2011] NICh 12 as if the author of that piece had seen and heard a talking monkey. No discussion of the case other than the result, an aside from the judge and the delayed publication of the judgment.
In a circular to Solo IP Practitioners that same day, Jeremy Phillips asked "Does SOLO IP have any Northern Ireland readers out there who would like to share their thoughts and feelings with others -- or who can disabuse this blogger of the impression he has painted above? If so, we'll be delighted to hear from you." That impression was of rain clouds with the caption "Northern Ireland - better known for its weather than for its IP". The circular continued: "its small population (fewer than 2 million) and largely agrarian economy probably offer less scope for developing an intellectual prop…

Patents: Convatec Ltd. v Smith & Nephew Healthcare Ltd

In Convatec Ltd. and others v Smith & Nephew Healthcare Ltd and Others [2011] EWHC 2039 (Pat) (27 July 2011), His Honour Judge Birss QC, sitting as a judge of the High Court, tried a claim for patent infringement and a counterclaim for revocation of the patent in suit on the grounds of anticipation, obviousness and insufficiency.
The invention for which the patent was granted was a moist wound dressing. The patent specification explained that most dressings consisted of materials that tended to absorb puss and other body fluids produced by a wound known as exudate. Such absorption tended to dry and thereby stick to the wound thus impeding healing. The invention was a gel that kept the wound moist while absorbing exudate.
The relevant claims were as follows: "Claim 1:A wound dressing comprising a blend of discrete modified cellulose gel forming fibres with at least one other type of discrete gel forming fibres.Claim 3:A wound dressing as claimed in any preceding claim wherein…

TV Streaming: ITV Broadcasting Ltd. and Others v TV Catchup Ltd.

Art 3 (1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society ("theInformation Society Directive") required EU member states to "provide authors with the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them." However, art 3 (2) required member states to provide broadcasting organizations only with "the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the making available to the public, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them." The Directive was implemented in the UK by The Copyright and Related Rights Regul…

Court of Appeal upholds Proudman's Decision in Meltwater

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"King's Moll Reno'd in Wolsey's Home Town." Thus an American newspaper reported the divorce of the Duchess of Windsor from second husband Ernest Aldrich Simpson at Ipswich Assizes. This witty pithy sentence imported a new verb into Cisatlantic English, namely "to Reno" for which there is still no equivalent, alluded to the family law of the state of Nevada and Tudor history. Yes, Henry VIII's first minister, the builder of Hampton Court, was indeed a butcher's boy from the county town of Suffolk. If this headline does not deserve copyright protection I don't know what does.
Mrs. Justice Proudman certainly thought so as I reported in "Newspaper Licensing: The Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd. v Meltwater Holding BV and Others" on 28 Nov 2010. But the Public Relations Consulting Association Ltd. who were the effective defendants in the Meltwater case argued that she was wrong in their appeal (The Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd. v Meltw…

Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v British Telecommunications Plc

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In Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Others v Newzbin Ltd. [2010] EWHC 608 (Ch), [2010] ECC 13, [2010] FSR 21, [2010] EMLR 17, [2010] ECDR 8, members of the Motion Picture Association of America Inc. ("the MPAA") sued an English company called Newzbin Ltd. ("Newzbin")in the Chancery Divisionfor copyright infringement. Newzbin operated a website through which subscribers could search the Usenet for files that members of the public had posted download and view them. I explained how the Usenet worked in my article Reflections on Newzbinwhich I posted to my chambers website on 2 Sep 2010.
Much, though by no means all of the matter posted to the Usenet infringes copyright including the copyrights of some of the MPAA's member studios in their films and television shows. The way that was done was to digitize a film, TV programme, sound recording, book or other work - that is to say convert it into sequences of ones and noughts known as binaries. As can…