Showing posts from August, 2006

BPP Law School's IP Students

BPP's students at Leeds and Manchester did very well last year. Both schools published excellent newsletters and the Manchester students ran an IP legal advice clinic for the Manchester Inventors Group . I have now somewhat belatedly uploaded the June edition of the Leeds students newsletter . It is very good indeed. It contains articles on Apple Corps v Apple Computer [2006] EWHC 996 (Ch), a review of the IPCEX talk on Freedom of Information last March, some basic info on trade marks, a lighthearted look at some improbable inventions and articles on counterfeiting and supplementary protection certificates. Well worth downloading as are indeed all of them.

ADR of Intellectual Property Disputes

On 10 May 2006 I chaired a seminar on alternative dispute resolution of intellectual property disputes. We had three star speakers: Ignacio de Castro from the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre in Geneva Peter Back of the UK Patent Office , and Sara Ludlam of Leeds law firm Keeble Hawson . As is clear from my slides , IPCEX (the IP Centre of Excellence for the North) chose that topic to coincide with the launch of the Patent Office mediation service a few weeks earlier. As I have said repeatedly in this blog over the past year, UK or at least English patent litigation is among the most expensive in Europe and goes a long way to explaining why we fall behind not only countries like the USA and Japan but also the rest of Europe including even the Netherlands in the European patent application stakes. It is high time something was done about it and the mediation initiative and Patent Office opinions are steps in the right direction. Ignacio, who has practised in London as an Englis

Software Distribution: "How much is Windows worth?"

A very interesting article by Ed Bott has appeared on ZDNet entitled " How much is Windows worth?" It starts with the observation: "Years ago, Microsoft created a multi-tier pricing structure for Windows that emphasized pre-installing its software on new PCs. The result was, by one measure, an outrageous success. ............ Ultimately, Microsoft's confusing business strategy has led to a problem that threatens the success of its next version, Windows Vista. My instinct says consumers can't value an operating system at more than 10% of the value of the physical hardware. Historically, 9 out of 10 copies of Windows are sold preinstalled on new computers. The business model that Microsoft created has been so successful that the average consumer has no idea what Windows is worth. The notion that different purchasing channels have different Windows license restrictions is completely inscrutable. (How many questions can you get right in this quiz ?) In fact, based

Interest reipublicae finis sit litigio - Final Whistle in Ultraframe

One of the longest running cases in English intellectual property litigation appears finally to have come to an end. In Ultraframe (UK) Ltd v Fielding and others [2006] EWCA Civ 1133 (08 Aug 2006) the Court of Appeal set out its reasons for refusing permission to appeal Mr Justice Lewison's decision in Ultraframe (UK) Ltd v Fielding and others [2005] EWHC 1638 (Ch) (27 July 2005). This case, which Lord Justice Jacob described as " a dispute conducted by both sides as if it were a State trial" took over 90 days to hear with a judgment running to 1929 paragraphs covering 487 pages. All this over conservatories. There were five applications for permission to appeal and save for one over costs upon which there may be further submissions it was refused in each case. Although Lord Justice Jacob warned that the Court's decision had no precedential value it is nevertheless illuminating on the courts approach to the issue of rel prospecvt of success which is also the crite

This Blog is now One Year Old - Some Warmed Up Porridge to Celebrate

It hardly seems like a year since I launched this blog - but it is. I haven't always been able to update it as regularly as I should - but I have tried. The incident that launched me into blogging was the Commission's proposal of 12 July 2005 for a directive on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights and a framework decision to strengthen the criminal law framework to combat intellectual property offences. It just did not seem to me to be a good idea to bring the construction of claims, which is expensive and difficult enough even in the specialist tribunal within the purview of the average jury. And I was even more of that view after I undertook jury service at Bradford Crown Court a few weeks later. Following the ECJ's decision in C-176/03 Commission v Council on the powers under the EU treaties to require member states to impose criminal sanctions, the Commission considered the effect of that decision in a communication to

Seminar ""Protecting your Intellectual Property in China" Liverpool, 14 Sep 2006

I appreciate that this is still a minority view but I believe that China stands very much where the USA stood before 1917 and the USA stands where the British empire stood at the time of the Boer war. That reality was brought home forcefully to me at the WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Centre meeting in Geneva last October when Francis Gurry, who also has responsibilities for the administration of the PCT , said that on present trends the bulk of the world's new technical literature will be in Mandarin or some other North Asian language within a very short time. If that is right everyone needs to take an interest in what's happening in China. In this regard IPCEX (the IP Centre of Excellence) is organizing a free seminar entitled "Protecting your Intellectual Property in China" courtesy of its newest member, Kirwans of Liverpool, at 4pm on 14 September 2006 in The Boardroom , Martins Building, Water Street, Liverpool L2 3SX. I shall be chairing the seminar and my

Legality of Trading in Certificates of Authenticity

Several of you have asked what has happened to this blog recently, particularly over the last few weeks when it has been silent. The answer is that I have been exceedingly busy. I am after all a barrister first and blogger second. Although I have had a lot of other work my biggest case was Microsoft Corporation v Ling and others [2006] EWHC 1619 (Ch) (3 July 2006) In that case I faced on very meagre resources two very able counsel - one an acknowledged expert in civil fraud and the other an intellectual property specialist - instructed by a very large law firm. The issue was whether dealing in certificates of authenticity - stickers that are affixed to the casing of microcomputers upon which Windows or other software is installed - is always necessarily unlawful. That issue had already arisen in the USA, Israel and the Netherlands but this appears to be the first time that it has arisen in this country. As I was counsel in the case it would not be right for me to say anything more abo