The Supreme Court's Judgment in Eli Lilly v Actavis UK Ltd and Others: how to understand it and why it is important

Jane Lambert

Supreme Court (Lords Neuberger, Mance, Clarke, Sumption and Hodge)  Eli Lilly v Actavis UK Ltd and others[2017] UKSC 48 (12 July 2017)

What the Appeal was about
The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co ("Lilly") has developed a drug called pemetrexed which it markets under the brand name Alimta for the treatment of various types of cancer. Used on its own, pemetrexed has unpleasant side effects that can sometimes be fatal but these can be avoided when it is administered as a compound called pemetrexed disodium in combination with vitamin B12.

The use of pemetrexed disodium in the manufacture of a medicament for use in combination with vitamin B12 (and, optionally, folic acid) for the treatment of cancer is monopolized in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and a number of other European countries by European patent number No 1 313 508. There are also corresponding patents for the same invention in many other countries around the world.

This medicine is no…

Registered Designs: The First Appeal to an Appointed Person in a Designs Case

Jane Lambert
Martin Howe QCAhmet Erol v Sumaira JavaidBL O/253/17 12 June 2017
The Registered Designs Act 1949 was passed the same year as the Patents Act 1949. S.85 (2) of the Patents Act 1949 established a Patents Appeal Tribunal ("PAT") which heard appeals from hearing officers. There was a corresponding provision under s.28 of the Registered Designs Act 1949 which established a Registered Designs Appeal Tribunal ("RDAT"). The PAT was abolished by the Patents Act 1977 but the RDAT trundled on until the Intellectual Property Act 2014 came into force (see Jane Lambert How the Intellectual Property Act 2014 changes British Registered Design Law19 June 2014 JD Supra). S.10 (4) of that Act repealed s.28 of the Registered Designs Act 1949 and with it the RDAT.  S.10 (2) of the 2014 Act inserted new sections 27A and 27B into the 1949 Act which gave those who wished to appeal against a decision of a hearing officer a choice between appealing to the Patents Court or "…

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

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

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

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?

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…