World of IP Round Up: June 2018 | A Brave New World?
June was a month filled with IP intrigue. As the world of business got to grips with the new GDPR and trade secrets regimes – there were a range of other headlines that piqued the interest of IP professionals and the general public alike. Of particular note were two decisions – the first relating to the infamous Louboutin “red sole” trade mark – and the second to do with who is liable to pay for injunctions online (e.g. blocking websites.) Without further ado – here’s a round-up of all of June’s news.
World of IP Round Up: The Big Ones
Louboutin Walking Tall after CJEU Decision
There are some trade marks which have an aura of infamy in IP circles Whether it’s the shape of a Kit Kat, the stripes on Adidas’ trainers or (as in this case) the red sole of a Louboutin stiletto shoe. These trade marks represent some of the most interesting case law and perhaps some of the most interesting applications of IP law. In cases such as these, there remains the question – is such a thing enforceable as a trade mark?
After much ado across a range of different jurisdictions the CJEU court determined that Louboutin’s trade mark was valid – because whilst it in practice refers to a colour applied to the distinctive sole of a shoe – it is only registered as a colour (and only seeks to protect this colour). In theory this grants Louboutin an incredible amount of protection when it comes to shoes with coloured soles. We looked at the ramifications of this in our post here – but it was (like the shoes) all the rage in the news cycle.
In the UK ISPs Can Say “You Want this to Go Away? You Pay!”
Another massive decision was handed down this month in the UK’s Supreme Court. Jeweler Cartier had challenged BT and other internet service providers that it was unfair for victims of infringement to have to pay to take down websites where counterfeits were being sold – for example.
The Supreme Court decided however that, given that the majority of sites where digital piracy was taking place were already restricted, that it would be disproportionate for ISPs such as BT to suffer the costs of taking down sites where infringing activities were taking place.
Finally, never have any businesses commanded as many column inches over an IP dispute as the perpetual patent ruckus between Apple and Samsung. Both companies, as hotbeds of innovation, have been duelling over patents that underlie their popular smartphones for the last seven years – whilst end users looked on bemused.
Finally a “ceasefire” of legal bombardment has been agreed between the warring companies – bringing to rest a disagreement borne of Steve Jobs’ indignation at the Korean giants’ devices and software.
World of IP Round Up: The Best of the Rest
We will see you for next month’s World of IP Round-Up.
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World of IP Round Up: June 2018 | A Brave New World? was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry