Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Autumn Talks - Introduction to Branding, Copyright and Related Rights, Patent Law and More

Gray's Inn Square Source Wikipedia

Building on our Introduction to IP seminar on the 26 June 2013 we are holding workshops on:

  • Branding Law - that is to say trade marks, passing off, geographical indications, domain names on 25 Sept 2013;
  • Creative Output - that is to say copyrights, rights in performances, moral rights and related rights on 30 Oct 2013; and
  • Technology Law - patents, trade secrets, unregistered designs rights (including semiconductor topographies) and plant varieties on 27 Nov 2013.
Each of these workshops will last 90 minutes plus breaks on the last Wednesday of each month between 16:00 and 18:00.   If you attend, you will qualify for CPD points from the SRA or BSB.   These talks will lay a foundation for more advanced workshops on the substantive law, licensing and litigation.   Best of all they will provide an opportunity to meet out new IP, technology and media law team who will attend as many of the talks as possible.

So who should come to these Autumn Talks? Well just about everybody who is not already an IP specialist. Even for them it would be useful revision.   We are looking for commercial lawyers, litigators, in-house legal advisors,l trainees and assistants who have just joined an IP department.

If you want to learn more, call our clerks on 020 7404 55252 or fill in our contact form.   You can also tweet us twitter or contact me on Facebook, G+, Linkedin or Xing.

Friday, 19 July 2013

We can now field a cricket team

Robert Griffiths QC

A lot of IP law relates to sport. Trade marks, association rights, broadcasting copyrights, patents for sports equipment - you name it  There is some IP in it somewhere. Our chambers have always been strong in sport and one of our stars is Robert Griffiths QC. Not only is he a sports lawyer, he is also a sportsman with a particularly strong interest in cricket.  Imagine my delight yesterday morning when he called me to say that he realized that he was actually an intellectual property lawyer as well as everything else and offered to lead our IP, Technology and Media Law Group.  I shall be adding his details to our blog shortly,

Other new team members with a strong interest in sport include Samuel Okoronkwo who knows all there is to know about football as he is an FA licensed lawyer and agents as well as barrister and Ruhi Sethi who is a long distance runner. Ruhi is a great addition to the team because she has practised as a solicitor and understand clients' needs perfectly..

I am not sure which sports Alexander Rozycki and Christian Panayi play but I am glad they are on our team because they are very good lawyers. Alex has very close links with Russia and Eastern Europe and a solid background in international law. Christian has a useful business experience in media and communications as well as an in depth knowledge of the relevant law.

Other new team members include Alex Khan who joins me from NIPC. Alex carried out his doctoral research at Birmingham medical school and knows his stuff when it comes to biotechnology and plant varieties.  We also have some promising pupils and outstanding overseas associated tenants,

If you want to learn more about our team or any of its members call Steve or his colleagues on 020 7404 5252 or fill out our contact form.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Ireland: Data Protection Commissioner loses in Supreme Court over GR

On 3 July 2013 the Irish Supreme Court gave its judgment in the appeal by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner ("DPC") in EMI Records (Ireland) Limited & ors v The Data Protection Commissioner [2013] IESC 34. Although this represents an endorsement of the voluntary graduated response scheme agreed between ISP Eircom and the record labels, the decision was based essentially on technical grounds. It offers an interesting example, however, of the attitude of an authority charged with enforcing data protection laws.

As described in an earlier post, EMI and other record labels had sued Eircom for participating in the infringement of copyright by its Internet access subscribers. The case was settled by a contractual GR scheme, under which an infringing user would on his third notification be suspended from Internet access for one week; after a fourth notification, Eircom would terminate his access agreement. The user was free to find another ISP if he could.

The DPC had taken the position that the conventional process of gathering anonymous data and its transmission and processing by Eircom was in some way an infringement of the rights of internet users under data protection law. The parties to the original action took the matter back to court to get a ruling on the issue, but the DPC refused to take part in it. He had asked the parties to pay his costs, win or lose, or at least not claim costs against him, which the parties had declined to agree. Nonetheless, Charleton J gave a judgment on the issue, robustly holding that there was no valid data protection objection to the GR scheme. 

Nothing daunted, the DPC issued an enforcement notice against Eircom under the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003, ordering it to stop operating the scheme. Eircom sought to appeal using the statutory procedure and the labels sought to be joined in that appeal. In an impressive display of fairmindedness, the DPC opposed their joinder, demanding in any event that the labels agree that they would receive no costs if allowed to take part. The labels, who had no automatic right to participate in the appeal, applied for judicial review of the enforcement notice, alleging that the DPC was wrong in law and, in any case, had failed to state any reasons in his notice (a requirement under the Data Protection Acts).

On 27 June 2012 Charleton J ruled on the judicial review application ([2012] IEHC 264), holding that the enforcement notice was bad in law, confirming his earlier analysis that peer-to-peer enforcement involved no breach of privacy, and held that the notice was bad in any event for lack of reasons.

The Supreme Court has now confirmed his decision, affirming that the lack of reasons was fatal. Given this procedural point, however, the court does not reach the substance of data protection law, beyond saying, en passant: 

"it appears to be accepted that the method by which the Protocol works is that all Eircom does is to receive a series of IP addresses from the record companies, write the appropriate letter to the customer corresponding with that IP address, and invoke the suspension or termination provisions of the Protocol as appropriate. On that basis it is not inherently obvious as to why such activity necessarily involves a breach of data protection law." 

No doubt the DPC will return to the fray in due course. 

Thomas Dillon
4-5 Gray's Inn Square

Monday, 1 July 2013

Judicial Review Conference

Our head of chambers (who recently received the accolade of Lawyer of the Week from the Times) and our other silks and specialist practitioners will hold our annual Judicial Review Conference at the offices of the Law Society between 10:00 and 16:00 on the 4 July 2013.

There is a public law dimension to intellectual property. In Lenzing AG's European Patent (UK) [1997] RPC 245 where Mr Justice Jacobs sat as an additional judge of the Queen's Bench Division upon an application for a review of the implementation in England of a decision of the European Patent Office.  More recently, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker determined an application for a judicial review of the Digital Economy Act 2010 on the grounds of incompatibility with EU legislation in British Telecommunications Plc and another (R on the application of) v The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2011] EWHC 1021 (Admin) (20 April 2011).

There is a very strong lineup of speakers and an interesting programme.   If you want to learn more about it call Linda Conlon or John Lister on 020 7404 5252 or contact them at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, Gray’s Inn, London WC1R 5AH email

Introduction to Intellectual Property

Jane Lambert

On Thursday 26 June 2013 I introduced some 20 lawyers and others to intellectual property law. To be fair some members of my audience knew a great deal about the topic. However, I think they all learned something new.

Instead of talking about the mechanics of IP law we discussed policy.  How IP has to strike a balance between two conflicting public interests::
  • incentivizing creativity and innovation; while
  • safeguarding competition and freedom of trade.
This tension between these conflicting public interests has existed since the Statute of Monopolies 1623 and the Statute of Anne 1710 and it is essential to appreciate that tension in order to understand IP law.

As it was not possible to cover everything in the 2 hours available to me each delegate got the following 16 page handout.

This is the first of a series of talks on IP which we shall offer to solicitors and others over the course of the year..

In this series we shall take a more detailed look at patents, copyrights and related rights, trade marks and designs. We shall talk about IP strategy and management. We shall follow it up on how to conduct a case in the IPO, the Patents Court and the Patents County Courts. We shall address IP issues that affect specific industries such as food and information technology.

Our next talk is on the Patent Box at the Royal Mint on 12 July with our colleagues from Atlas Tax Chambers and friends from BDO and Broudie, Jackson Canter. Tickets are going fast so click here if you want to find out more about the event.  You can register through the website.

If you want to discuss the seminar or the topic generally call me on 020 7404 5252 or complete my contact form.