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Music and Entertainment Law: Music Contracts - Editions Musicales Alpha S.A.R.L. v Universal Music Publishing Ltd and Others

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IPEC (His Honour Judge Hacon) Editions Musicales Alpha S.A.R.L. v Universal Music Publishing Ltd and Others [2017] EWHC 1058 (IPEC) (10 May 2017)

This case, which came before His Honour Judge Hacon on 23 Feb 2017, shows how copyright comes into being, how it is assigned and how much care should be taken when drawing up agreements for its assignment, particularly when settling disputes over ownership.
The story began in 1966 when Jacques Dutronc recorded a song entitled Et moi, et moi, et moiwhich reached number 2 in the French charts. Dutronc had composed the music while Jacques Lanzmann wrote the words. Because Britain and France were and remain parties to the Berne Convention, copyright subsisted automatically in those works in the United Kingdom by virtue of s.2  of the Copyright Act 1956.  Messieurs Dutronc and Lanzmann became first owners of those copyrights pursuant to s.4 (1). The 1956 Act has been repealed and replaced by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 but the law…

Cakes and Copyright

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Jane Lambert

According to the BBC, the US food blogger Elizabeth  LaBau has brought proceedings against the publishers of The Food Network for copyright infringement (see "US food blogger sues Food Network over snow globe cakes"  3 June 2017). Copyright infringement falls within the jurisdiction of the federal courts in the USA so I looked up recent filings in the US District Court and found that proceedings had been filed on 1 June 2017 by William Bowen on behalf of Ms LaBau against Television Food Network GP in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

 Ms LaBau blogs about cakes and desserts in her SugarHero! blog. One of her confections is "Snow Globe Cupcakes with Gelatin Bubbles". The BBC reports that Ms LaBau does not complain that copying her recipe infringed her copyright as "it is almost impossible to claim copyright over a list of ingredients" but she does object to the copying of a video explaining how to make the cupcakes,…

Resolving IP Disputes at Trade Fairs

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Jane Lambert

The European IPR Helpdesk, an EU-funded collaboration between Infeurope SA, Eurice GmbH and L'Institut de la Propriété Intellectuelle Luxembourg to provide free, first-line advice and information on intellectual property, has recently published two fact sheets on IP and trade fairs. The first, which is entitled Intellectual property management at trade fairsis addressed to exhibitors at, and visitors to, trade fairs while the second, IP considerations for trade fair organisers, is addressed to organizers. Both fact sheets were developed in co-operation with the European Major Exhibition Centres Associaton and the European Exhibition Industry Alliance,

Intellectual property management at trade fairs starts with "Things you should know before participating in a trade fair." These include "Knowing the IPRs you own", "Registration is the easiest and most effective way to fight against infringers", "IP protection is territorial", &qu…

Trade Marks - The KitKat Appeal: How does a Shape Mark acquire Distinctiveness?

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Jane Lambert

Société Des Produits Nestlé SA v Cadbury UK Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 358 (17 May 2017)

Unregistered design right subsists for no more than 15 years. A design registration for only 25. But a trade mark registration can last forever. That no doubt explains why La Société des Produits Nestlé S.A ("Nestlé") has persevered with this case despite losing to Cadbury UK Ltd ("Cadbury") in the Trade Marks Registry and on appeal.

The Issue

S.1 (1) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 provides that any sign can be a trade mark so long as it is "capable of being represented graphically" and "capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings." The section gives some examples one of which is "the shape of goods or their packaging."

On 8 July 2010, Nestlé's trade mark agents applied to the Intellectual Property Office ("the IPO") to register the shape of the KitKat bar shown in the photo above as…

Protecting FinTech Innovation

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Jane Lambert

A lot of money is going into FinTech (financial services technology) in this country and overseas nowadays including accelerator programmes promoted by our central bank and one of our major clearers (see the Bank of England's FinTech page and the Barclays Accelerator as well as details of the other accelerator programmes in the table below). But how is all that investment in FinTech to be protected if indeed it is to be protected at all?  In an extract from a longer article in Gluon. Steve Findley and Vanni Torelli ask whether IP is so important to FinTech (see Fintech Startups – is IP important?The FinTech Times).

In view of the amounts of money involved, I should be very surprised if it were not. Findley and Torelli argued that of the top 35 FinTec h unicorns than 25% have filed for patents. I am not in the least surprised by that statistic. Most FinTech innovation will be software implemented. Software is difficult to patent in England and indeed the rest of Europe…