Can Blockchain be a ‘reasonable step’ to keep trade secrets safe?

Guest post by Alessio Balbo*

Blockchain and trade secrets: an interesting combination, surely, but how do they fit? It is worth to mention that know-how and trade secrets are among those intangible assets which have historically been difficult to protect for companies, as they do not fall under the scope of the more classical intellectual property rights, by nature (actually, by law) easier to protect or to enforce. A classic example of a trade secret is the Coca-Cola recipe, kept secret for generations of CEOs, and is apparently often changed, as the rumours whisper. This example shows the importance of trade secrets and the investments that companies make in order to protect such valuable information.  Continue reading “Can Blockchain be a ‘reasonable step’ to keep trade secrets safe?”

Oracle America v. Google: The battle of the code

Guest post by Carlos Muñoz Ferrandis*

Introduction

Welcome to a clash of software titans, where Oracle achieved to defend its proprietary code (Java) from the unstoppable and ever-expanding dominion of the open source-based Google platform, Android. This decision, even if showing an incredibly interesting copyright case shaping the U.S. concept of the fair use, pushes us to go beyond and adopt an overall perspective of current market behaviours of tech giants in the software sector.

The story of the case could be divided in two parts. The first one, dealing with the copyrightability of 37 Application Programming Interfaces (API). The Federal Circuit in 2014, following Oracle’s appeal to a 2012 District Court decision, declared the declaring code and the API packages’ structure, sequence, and organization (SSO) copyrightable as a matter of law. And the second one, where the two software giants had opposing approaches on question of fair use. Oracle again appealed a District Court decision of 2016, where the court had found that there was fair use. This stage ended on the 27th of March 2018 when the Federal Circuit declared that Google’s use of the Java API packages was not fair use. Continue reading “Oracle America v. Google: The battle of the code”

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”

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”

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”

The Statement of Patent Working in India – time for a change

Guest post by Preston Richard*

It is that time of the year again in India when the patentee must file an annual statement of working of their every granted patent. The statement has to be filed by the 31st of March each year.

Unique to India, this annual ritual mandated under Art. 146 (2) of the Indian Patent Act requires the patentee (and licensees) to furnish a statement to the extent to which the patented invention has been worked on a commercial scale in India.

Historical background

This requirement stems from the Ayyangar Report (PDF), a policy document drafted in 1959 that forms the basis of the Indian Patent Regime.

While some countries chose to have no working requirement of patents, the Ayyangar Report reasoned that the quid pro quo the society receives in return for the grant of the monopoly could only be ensured if the patent is used for the purpose for which it is granted.  Therefore, the report concluded that for a then under-developed country like India, certain safeguards against patents of foreigners was necessary. This resulted in the principles relating to the working of the patent and the consequences in case of failure being codified in the Indian Patent Act.

Continue reading “The Statement of Patent Working in India – time for a change”

Final Countdown! New EU data protection law applies as of 25 May 2018

Guest post by Helmut Liebel*

In only a few months, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be directly applicable in all EU member states. The GDPR replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive. For the first time, a uniform, directly applicable EU data protection law is introduced.

 

THE AIM

The GDPR protects personal data of natural persons, such as employees, customers and suppliers. Regardless whether companies (as controllers) process the data of such data subjects in the EU themselves or task processors with this job, in each case they must comply with the GDPR. Continue reading “Final Countdown! New EU data protection law applies as of 25 May 2018”

Latest update on the crispr cas9: the patent battle continues in Europe

Guest post by Lucia Tamayo Del Portillo*

After causing major buzz in 2017 due to the decision of the patent interference procedure before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which is currently under review in Federal Court, the Crispr Cas9 patent battle enters into 2018 with another shocking decision, this time rendered by the opposition division of the European Patent Office (EPO).

As readers may recall, Crispr Cas9 is a gene editing tool that allows scientists to manipulate DNA of living organisms in a cost-effective manner with accurate precision and the possibility to add, amend or delete parts of DNA sequences. The technology has multiple applications in different industries, with, of course, human health being the most promising and profitable one. Continue reading “Latest update on the crispr cas9: the patent battle continues in Europe”

“Colour” your rights or not?

Guest post by Florica Rus*

Over the years, many companies have sought trade mark protection for colours or colour combinations. This strategy turned out to be not a plain sailing.

Since Libertel – C-104/01 and Heidelberger Bauchemie – C-49/02 judgments, colours are recognised as a factor that may lead consumers to a purchasing decision. However, colours are considered to have a limited capacity to communicate an indication of origin to the consumers and being distinctive is not their strength.

On 22 July 2017, the General Court held that three identical rectangular coloured stripes do not make the mark distinctive enough to fulfil the commercial origin function (T-612/15). The figurative mark applied for – EUTM 012880481 (three stripes colour) for goods in classes 18, 25 and 26, was found to be neither distinctive nor to have acquired distinctiveness through use. The Court illustrated that consumers in the fashion sector are not used to identify the origin of the product based on a colour and three coloured stripes will not be apprehended as an indicator of origin. Continue reading ““Colour” your rights or not?”

Peruvian patent litigation on infringement and invalidation: A sui generis case of bifurcation

fork-in-the-road

Guest post by Diego F. Ortega*

The Andean Community is the result of the seeking of the balanced and harmonious development of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which in May 26, 1969 signed the Cartagena Agreement, laying the groundwork for the creation of a subregional community initially known as Andean Pact and later renamed as Andean Community. In order to achieve the said objective, the Andean Community promotes a continuous process of integration and economic and social cooperation. In particular, this process of integration involves the need of having common rules as to matters that foster the unification of the market, such as industrial property rights.

The industrial property system within the Andean Community was established by the “Decision 486”, which aims to guarantee a rigorous scrutiny as to the fulfillment of the requirements needed for the granting of a patent. Thus, Andean Community does not provide only for the mandatory performance of a substantive examination carried out by the national patent authorities of its Member Countries, but also for mechanisms which allow third parties to prove that an invention does not meet the legal requirements, seeking the denial of the patent (through a pre-grant opposition request) or, if the patent is granted, its revocation (through an invalidation request). Continue reading “Peruvian patent litigation on infringement and invalidation: A sui generis case of bifurcation”