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Showing posts from October, 2019

Restrictive Covenants - Affinity Workforce Solutions Ltd v McCann and others

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Jane Lambert

Business and Property Courts, Manchester (Mr Justice Snowdon, Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Manchester) Affinity Workforce Solutions Ltd v McCann and others [2019] EWHC 2829 (Ch)

I cut my teeth doing cases like this when Andrew Blackett-Ord was the Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Manchester and his deputies were James Fitzhugh and Michale O'Donoghue. They used to tour the North of England and on motion days their courts were packed.  My opponents included Northern Circuit legends like Bertie Maddocks and Nigel Howarth who also became circuit judges sitting in the High Court. I learned a lot from doing this sort of work.

This was an application by Affinity Workforce Solutions Ltd ("Affinity") for interim injunctions to restrain five of its former employees from taking any part in the business of the sixth defendant, Tradewind Recruitment Ltd ("Tradewind") until after the expiry of certain covenants in their contracts of employm…

Employees' Inventions - Shanks v Unilever

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Jane Lambert

Supreme Court (Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lady Black and Lord Kitchin) Shanks v Unilever Plc [2019] UKSC 45 (23 Oct 2019)

Nowadays most commercially successful inventions in the United Kingdom are made by scientists, engineers or other technically qualified people working for companies, research institutes or universities at places like Colworth House in Bedfordshire.  Most of those scientists, engineers and technicians are paid very well for their work and many of them receive side benefits like company cars, private health insurance and stock options.

Employees' Inventions

It is for that reason that s.39 (1) of the Patents Acr 1977 provides:

"Notwithstanding anything in any rule of law, an invention made by an employee shall, as between him and his employer, be taken to belong to his employer for the purposes of this Act and all other purposes if -
(a) it was made in the course of the normal duties of the employee or in the course of duties falling outside…

Jurisdiction to hear Abuse of Dominant Position Claims relating to FRAND - Vestel Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.Ş. and another v HEVC Advance LLC and another

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Jane Lambert

Patents Court (HH Judge Hacon) Vestel Elektronik Sanayi VE Ticaret AS and another v HEVC Advance LLC and another [2019] EWHC 2766 (Ch) (21 Oct 2019)

This was an application for a declaration that the English Patents Court has no jurisdiction to entertain a claim by Vestel Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.Ş and its British subsidiary, Vestel UK Ltd against HEVC Advance LLC, a Delaware company that manages a pool of standard-essential patents ("SEP"), or Koninklijke Phillips NV ("Phillips") one of the SEP owners for relief from an alleged abuse of a dominant position under art 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU") and/or s.18 of the Competition Act 1998 by failing to offer licences under the SEP on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory ("FRAND") terms.  The application came on before His Honour Judge Hacon sitting as a judge of the High Court on 2 and 3 Oct 2019.  Judgment was given on 21 Oct 2019 in favou…

WIPO Conference "As the UDRP turns 20: looking back, looking ahead"

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Jane Lambert

When I was a graduate student at UCLA in the early 1970s I wanted to consult a book. I learned that it was not in our library but that it might be at Berkeley.  I filled out a simple form which someone typed into a keyboard,  Not long afterwards I received a reply.  At the time I was not very impressed because the same result could have been achieved by telex or even telegram. Since then I have learned about DARPA and discovered that some of the early work on what is now the internet was carried out at UCLA at about the time I was there.  It has occurred to me that I may have sent one of the world's first emails.

About 15 years later I was definitely sending and receiving emails because I had subscribed to Telecom Gold. I had installed a dedicated telephone line to my chambers at 72 Bridge Street in Manchester and bought a dial-up modem which I connected to my Amstrad 8256 computer.  The modem was very temperamental but it worked.  I even recei…

Patents - Anan Kasei Co Ltd and another v Neo Chemicals and Oxides Ltd.

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Jane Lambert

Court of Appeal (Lords Justices Lewison, Floyd and Jackson) Anan Kasei Co Ltd and another v Neo Chemicals and Oxides Ltd and another [2019] WLR(D) 553, [2019] EWCA Civ 1646 Patents Court (Roger Wyand QC) Anan Kasei Co. Ltd and another v Molycorp Chemicals & Oxides (Europe) Ltd[2018] EWHC 843 (Pat)

In Anan Kasei Co. Ltd and another v Molycorp Chemicals & Oxides (Europe) Ltd. [2018] EWHC 843 (Pat), Anan Kasei Co. Ltd the proprietor of European patent 1435338 and Rhodia Operations SAS, its exclusive licensee, sued a distributor of catalytic products for infringement of claims 1 to 5 of the  patent.  The defendant, which changed its name to Neo Chemicals and Oxides (Europe) Ltd., denied infringement and counterclaimed for revocation on grounds of anticipation,obviousness and insufficiency.

The action and counterclaim came on before Mr Roger Wyand QC sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court.  A trial that took place on 16, 17, 18, 19 and 25 January 2018.   The def…

Joint Copyright - The Appeal in Martin and Another v Kogan

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Jane Lambert

Court of Appeal (Lords Justices Floyd, Henderson and Jackson) Martin and another v Kogan[2019] EWCA Civ 1645

Readers can judge from the video that Florence Foster Jenkins was about as good at singing as William McGonagall was at poetry or, indeed, I am at ballet. In 2016 a film was made about her life which grossed receipts of US$44.3 million.  The screenplay was credited to one Nicholas Martin but his partner, Julia Kogan, claimed to be a joint author.  Mr Martin brought proceedings against Ms Kogan for a declaration that he was sole author of the work and owner of the copyright subsisting in it. She counterclaimed for a declaration that she was a joint author and copyright owner and sought damages for infringement of her copyright.  The action and counterclaim came on for trial before His Honour Judge Hacon in Martin and another Kogan and others [2017] EWHC 2927 (IPEC) (22 Nov 2017),  His Honour found for Mr Martin and I wrote a case note on his j…