European IP Bulletin, Issue 20


Hot Topics

1. Norway Proposes New Digital Copyright Law

The proposed new digital law will make it illegal for anyone to circumvent or overcome security codes on DVD and CDs or provide software to do so. However, in the case of private use, the owners will be allowed to circumvent the codes if they are making copies to be used in the same medium.

2. The Game Group PLC V Garth Sumpter

Nominet UK’s Dispute Resolution Service has given its decision in relation to the domain name dispute concerning the domain name The issue for determination was whether a change of use by the Defendant of the domain name had become an abusive registration because it was being used in a manner which took unfair advantage of, or was unfairly detrimental to, the Complainant’s rights.


3. Harry Potter in the US Army

Representatives of Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, are investigating a Harry Potter look-alike comic published by the US Army, featuring characters similar to those in the Harry Potter books and films.

4. Italian DJ Receives Record Fine for MP3 Piracy

Italy imposed a record fine on a DJ found in possession of a large number of unauthorised copies of records, mp3 and video clips. The material was used in a well-known nightclub in Rieti, near Rome.

5. New DVD Anti-Piracy Measures

In continuing the crack down on DVD piracy, new anti-piracy measures have been devised by Macrovision, the copy protection company, to make it more difficult for DVDs to be copied.


6. Dyson Vacuums Up the Secondary

The vacuum cleaner company Dyson has successfully defended various design rights in spare parts for its machines against the defendant Qualtex. This case demonstrates the power of the unique unregistered design right in affecting access to a secondary market in practice.


7. Mayne Pharma V Pharmacia Italia

This case concerned the construction of patent claims following the recent House of Lords’ judgment in Kirin Amgen.

8. Obvious to Try? Think Again!

This is the message the Court of Appeal gave in the case of Saint Gobain PAM SA v Fusion Provida Limited & others, when it held that in order for an obviousness attack to succeed, the prior art should provide more than a mere possibility of inclusion of something within the research programme of a person skilled in the art. It should be more-or-less self-evident from the prior art that what is being tested ought to work; and to assess such a scenario, historical considerations cannot be omitted and will form an integral part of this evaluation process.

9. Consultation on Compulsory Licensing of Pharmaceutical Patents for Export to Countries with Public Health Problems

A consultation paper has been issued by the UK Patent Office regarding the Commission’s Regulation proposal allowing European drug manufacturers to produce generic versions of patented drugs for export to WTO Members in need of essential medicines. The purpose of this consultation is to enable the views of perspective users of the compulsory licensing system and all other interested parties to be taken into account in the Community legislative process.


10. Feta Cheese Protection Reaches ECJ

The Danish and German governments have appealed against the European Commission’s decision to grant protected designation of origin status to feta cheese. If the Commission’s decision is allowed to stand, from 2007 onwards, cheese producers outside Greece, including Britain’s only feta cheese producer, will no longer be able to describe their cheeses as feta.

11. UK Trade Mark Decision-Appeal on Registering Famous Names on Posters

The appeal focused on the question of registration of the names of celebrities on goods such as posters. Sections 3(1)(b) and (c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 were considered. The appeal was dismissed on the ground that that the mark in question designated the characteristics of the goods concerned and should be excluded from registration.


McDermott, Will & Emery UK LLP would like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution to the Bulletin made by Angela Adrian, Professor Michael Blakeney, Claudio Chiarolla, Jerry Hsiao, Afe Komolafe, Malcolm Langley, Florian Leverve, Tina Loverdou, Maria Mercedes, James Mitchiner, Marisella Ouma, Rajesh Sagar, Ilanah Simon, Pekka Valo and Daphne Zografos from the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute, University of London.