Supreme Court rules that ISPs should not bear costs for the implementation of website-blocking injunctions in trade mark infringement cases

Guest post by William Wortley*

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in Cartier International v BT and another that the costs of implementing injunctions against internet service providers (ISPs), ordering them to block access to websites selling trademark infringing goods, should be borne by IP rightsholders rather than ISPs. The landmark decision overturns the High Court decision, upheld in the Court of Appeal, and raises questions about the scope of the decision and the potential impact on rightsholders moving forward. Continue reading “Supreme Court rules that ISPs should not bear costs for the implementation of website-blocking injunctions in trade mark infringement cases”

Do data generated by connected cars raise antitrust risks?

In these days the European Commission is particularly active in understanding the possible antitrust impact of data-related conducts. In particular, from a recent policy document published by the Commission and from statements released by DG Comp´s official, it emerges that data generated by automated and connected cars might be considered an “essential facility” from a competition law perspective, at least in the early stage of the industry development, with the consequence that access to these data could not be refused to third parties. Consequently, manufacturers of automated and connected cars which refuse to license these data under fair terms to providers of cars-related services (i.e.: insurers, repairers, leasing companies) might be in breach of article 102 TFEU.

Continue reading “Do data generated by connected cars raise antitrust risks?”

Latest status and trend of patent litigations in China

A Chinese judicial statistics service platform, IPHOUSE has recently published a statistical analysis report on the status and trend of patent litigations in China from 2013 to 2017. Some interesting information is gathered below for an overview. Please note that the term “patent” in the report, if not further specified, is used to encompass several patent-related rights, namely invention patent, utility model patent and design patent. Continue reading “Latest status and trend of patent litigations in China”

Blockchain and antitrust: why companies should be cautious

Over the last months blockchain and bitcoin have been the subject of lively public discussions on whether blockchain is the technology of the future and cryptocurrencies are going to be just a speculative phenomenon or something more. However, little has been said so far on blockchain from an antitrust perspective, probably because new technologies require some time to be digested and elaborated by competition authorities. Continue reading “Blockchain and antitrust: why companies should be cautious”

Defining Trademarks as Investment in International Investment Law – Some Guidance from Bridgestone v. Panama

The Panama Canal. One of the biggest and most controversial US investments in Panama.

 

Guest post by Ivan Stepanov*

The relationship between intellectual property (IP) and international investment law is no longer at the fringe of the disciplines. The Philip Morris and Eli Lilly cases brought the uneasy relationship to the attention of a wider audience. The reason the cases rose to prominence was their intrinsic relationship with issues related to public health. Although not so apparent, both cases likewise contributed immensely in a jurisprudential manner, clarifying how IP will be treated in international investment law and arbitration. Following in their footsteps is Bridgestone v. Panama. Seemingly not immediately impactful, Bridgestone v. Panama brings us some novelties that can set the discourse for future IP investment cases.

Continue reading “Defining Trademarks as Investment in International Investment Law – Some Guidance from Bridgestone v. Panama”

The Forgotten Right of Independent Creation – Judgments from the Finnish and Swedish Supreme Courts

(Note: The picture is unrelated to the Finnish case)

Setting the Stage

Copyright plays a very important role in the creative industries. But what also plays a very important role for the mere existence of those industries is inspiration. Virtually every musician or artist is inspired by other musicians or artists, every painter is inspired by other painters, that is the way the world works and denying this would be quite naïve to say the least. This short introduction brings us to the topic of this post. If you create an entirely new and independent work, you will not have to seek any permission from the copyright owner to reproduce or distribute your own work. This is the rule in many jurisdictions in the world. But if you use another’s work to make an adaptation, you would need permission. But where to draw the line?

Judgment of the Swedish Supreme Court

On 21 February 2017, the Supreme Court of Sweden had handed down a judgment (T 1963-15) in a quite interesting case. At the heart of dispute was a photograph and a painting which was alleged to infringe Swedish copyright law. The photographer had followed a person who was a suspect in the murder of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Plame. The photographer managed to get a photo of the suspect, which was then used in the mass media. Another individual then used the photograph as a model and painted a work which he named “Swedish scapegoats”. The painter displayed the painting on the Museum of Modern Arts in Stockholm, published a picture of the painting on his website and sold posters of the painting. The question at dispute was whether the painter had infringed the copyright attached to the photograph.

The question was whether the work was an independent work or an adaptation, which is dependent upon the original work. The Supreme Court briefly compared the two works and did consider that one could, at a first glance, come to a conclusion that the painting would be an adaptation of the photograph. However, there were differences related inter alia to the technique used.

Additionally, the evaluation had to be made based an overall consideration. The Supreme Court held that the painting was indeed to be considered to be  an independent work. The Supreme Court considered the painting to have a different purpose compared to the photograph. The purpose of the painting was not to portray the individual, which was of course the main purpose of the photograph. Rather, the painting was created to critique the general need to have scapegoats in mass media and was also considered to be a commentary of the current times and society. The person depicted was considered a phenomena in the painting and a bearer of the symbolic message expressed by the painting.

Continue reading “The Forgotten Right of Independent Creation – Judgments from the Finnish and Swedish Supreme Courts”

The Italian Competition Authority publishes draft “Guidelines on antitrust compliance” encouraging the adoption of compliance programs

On April 20 the Italian Competition Authority (“AGCM”) launched a public consultation in order to gather comments on its draft “Guidelines on antitrust compliance”.

The document is of huge importance since it provides for the first time the view of the AGCM on how an effective antitrust compliance program should be established and managed. Even more importantly, the draft guidelines show how the Authority will weigh the adoption of compliance programs as a mitigating circumstance at the moment of calculating fines in antitrust investigations. Continue reading “The Italian Competition Authority publishes draft “Guidelines on antitrust compliance” encouraging the adoption of compliance programs”

Reforming EU copyright law through competition enforcement? Waiting for the Commission’s decision in the “Pay-tv” case

These are complicated days for the entertainment industry. While one investigation regarding sports media rights has just been launched by the European Commission, another is coming to an end. I am talking about the so-called “Pay-tv” case, by means of which the Commission is subtly attempting to reform copyright law through competition enforcement. Continue reading “Reforming EU copyright law through competition enforcement? Waiting for the Commission’s decision in the “Pay-tv” case”

EU Commission published “notice to stakeholders” on post-Brexit copyright law

Guest post by William Wortley*

With one year to go until the United Kingdom exits the European Union, the Commission has released a “notice to stakeholders” highlighting that, in the absence of transitional measures, the EU’s copyright acquis will not apply to the UK post-Brexit. While copyright law has not been fully harmonised across the EU, cliff-edge issues such as those contained in the notice have major potential ramifications for both the EU and the UK.

The notice acknowledges that, as signatories to the main international copyright treaties, namely TRIPS and the WIPO Copyright treaties, the UK and EU’s relationship in this field will be governed by these treaties post-Brexit, including the application of the principles of national treatment and most-favoured nation status.

Continue reading “EU Commission published “notice to stakeholders” on post-Brexit copyright law”

China to restructure the State Intellectual Property Office

During a recent annual meeting, China’s highest legislature, the National People’s Congress approved a sweeping government restructuring plan. As part of the plan, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), which so far acts as a patent office only, will additionally incorporate the functions of managing trademarks and geographical indications of origin (GIs), which are currently administrated by separate administrative organs. Therefore, in the future, all applications for patents, trademarks and geographical indications of origin in China will be filed at the SIPO, and the SIPO will be responsible for examining and subsequently registering these IP rights. Further, based on China’s existing dual administrative and judicial system for enforcing IP rights, the SIPO will also be in charge of administrative adjudication of disputes involving patents, trademarks and GIs, and supervising their administrative enforcement. Continue reading “China to restructure the State Intellectual Property Office”