European IP Bulletin – Issue 71

Overview


In Depth

DATA PROTECTION

Social Networking Sites Challenged Over Privacy Standards

The Article 29 Working Party, the EU advisory body on data protection and privacy, has sent letters to 20 social networking service (SNS) providers that signed up to the Safer Social Networking Principles for the European Union, raising issues concerning privacy standards on social networking platforms. The letters from the Working Party are a follow up to its Opinion on online social networking (5/2009) adopted in June 2009 and a subsequent hearing with three major SNS operators at the Working Party’s plenary meeting in November last year.

E-COMMERCE, IT AND BANKING TECHNOLOGY

Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation (330/2010/EC) and Guidelines: Online Sales, Exclusive and Selective Distribution

The Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation (2970/1999/EC) expired on 31 May 2010 and the European Commission has adopted a new Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation (330/2010/EC) which came into force on 1 June 2010.

COMMERCIAL

The Trademark Licensing Company Ltd and Lonsdale Sports Ltd v Leofelis SA: Anatomy of an International Licensing Deal Gone Bad

On an application for summary judgment, the High Court of England and Wales held that where a defence to a claim might succeed, but probably would not, it was appropriate to make a conditional order requiring that the defendant make a payment into court.

COPYRIGHT

Football Dataco Ltd v Brittens Pools Ltd: Database Copyright in Football Fixture Lists.

In a significant database decision, Mr Justice Floyd has determined that the Claimants‘ football fixture lists are protected by the harmonised form of copyright provided for by Article 3 of the Database Directive, but has confirmed that the sui generis database right under Article 7 of the Directive does not apply to databases if the investment involved in their creation is limited to time and resources dedicated to the creation of the data themselves, as opposed to their collection into a database.

DESIGNS

Beifa Group Co Ltd v the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market: Opposing Trade Mark Rights and Genuine Use

Beifa registered as a Community design various designs in relation to „instruments of writing“. In 2006, Schwan-Stabilo Schwanhaü GmbH & Co KG applied to the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market to have the registration declared invalid on the basis of its earlier German trade mark registration.

TRADE MARKS

Transport for London: Domain Name Use and Genuine Use

The Appointed Person rejected Transport for London’s opposition to an application by Jason Wright to register „tfl“ (in lower case) as a trade mark for search engine and domain name management services in Classes 42 and 45. Transport for London relied on its earlier registration for “TFL” (upper case) and produced evidence of the mark in use, but in the forms „tfl“ as part of a domain name and „TfL“.

L’Oréal SA v Bellure NV: Comparative Advertising, Unfair Advantage and Imitations

L’Oréal sued for trade mark infringement of various word marks under Section 10(1) and infringement of bottle and box marks under Section 10(3) of the Trade Marks Act 1994. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales referred questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

PATENTS

Fabio Perini SPA v LPC Group plc: Invalidity for Disclosure to Customer 

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales, in a judgment by Lords Justice Neuberger, Hughes and Jackson, has upheld a decision of Mr Justice Floyd that a patent (the 929 Patent) owned by Perini for sealing the tail ends of paper rolls was valid and infringed by their competitor PCMC. In relation to a second patent owned by Perini (the 168 Patent), which related to an improvement of the method of the 929 Patent, the Court of Appeal upheld Floyd J’s finding in relation to prior disclosure and held that the patent was invalid.

SPORT

UEFA v Euroview Sport Ltd: Extra Time for Football Broadcasts?

Mr Justice Kitchin has made another reference to the European Court of Justice in a dispute over the sale in the United Kingdom of foreign decoder cards used to access foreign transmissions of football matches, this time UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches. As in FAPL v QC Leisure and Murphy v MPS (Joined Cases C-403/08 and C-429/08), Kitchin J asked if parallel imported decoder cards are „illicit devices“ as defined by the Conditional Access Directive (98/84/EC). What sets this latest reference apart, however, is that guidance is also sought on whether encryption amounts to a „technological measure“ for the purposes of Article 6 of the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) and whether the use without consent of decoder cards issued pursuant to a subscription agreement in a foreign country amounts to „circumvention“ of these measures.

DOMAIN NAMES

LOCOG v H&S Media Ltd: London Olympics Association Right and mylondon2012.com

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd v H&S Media Ltd World Intellectual Property Organization Case No. D2010-0415 (29 April 2010), is a cyber-squatting case grounded in trade mark rights and the London Olympics Association Right created by the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.