Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Cakes and Copyright

Image
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

Image
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?

Image
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

Image
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…

Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill

Image
Jane Lambert

The action arising from groundless threats has been one of the most perplexing features of our intellectual property law both for foreign owners of IPR in this country and their legal advisors (see Prince Plc v Prince Sports Group Inc[1998] FSR 21) and even non-specialist lawyers in the United Kingdom (see Brain v Ingeledew Brown Benson and Garrett and another [1996] FSR 341). Under s.70 of the Patents Act 1977 and similar provisions in other IP legislation, a letter threatening proceedings that would be quite acceptable in most countries and even in the UK in respect of most other causes of action can land the lawyer or attorney who wrote it, and the client on whose behalf the letter was written, in a whole heap of trouble that sometimes results in an infringer getting away with his or her wrongdoing.

S.70 (1) provides:

"Where a person (whether or not the proprietor of, or entitled to any right in, a patent) by circulars, advertisements or otherwise threatens anoth…