European IP Bulletin, Issue 40


In Depth

Hot Topics

Repackaging and parallel import of pharmaceutical products

On 27 April 2007, the European Court of Justice handed down yet another decision in the case of Boehringer Ingelheim & others v Swingward Ltd and Dowelhurst Ltd, Case C-348/04 (« Boehringer II »). Simone Blakeney, an associate in our London office, outlines the decision.

Copyright & Technology

The House of Lords’ OK to damages against Hello

The House of Lords has decided in favour of OK! magazine in Douglas v Hello [2007] UKHL 21, overruling of the Court of Appeal’s decision and upholding the High Court’s decision which ordered Hello to pay £1million in damages for breach of confidentiality.

Threats against an allegedly dormant company

The High Court faced a problem when it was suggested that alleged infringements of Microsoft’s copyright and trade marks, and passing off took place when the first defendant company was dormant. The court did not accept an application for summary judgment seeking relief against Microsoft for making a groundless threat to sue a dormant company for trade mark infringement.


Liability for infringing a patent that never existed

On 25 April 2007,the Court of Appeal decided that a defendant who had been successfully sued for infringement of a patent, which the Court found to be valid, could not delay the inquiry as to damages, notwithstanding that the European Patent Office (« EPO ») had yet to rule in revocation proceedings on the validity of the same patent.

Trademarks & Domain Names

Celltech: What’s in a name?

In the case of Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market v Celltech R&D Ltd., the European Court of Justice held that just because a sign is a combination of two terms, it does not in itself becomes unregistrable though it may describe the goods and services that can fall within the field earmarked by the sign. It has to be shown that the relevant public would make a definite and direct association between the goods and services and the meaning of the mark before it can be rejected for being descriptive.

ECJ enjoys drinking « Champagnebier »

The European Court of Justice ruled in De Landtsheer Emmanuel SA v Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin SA providing extensive guidance on comparative advertising under EC Directive 84/450, including a perspective on comparative advertising of products or services protected by designations of geographical origin.


High Court clears gamble over Gambling Commission’s implied powers.

Leicester Gaming Club Limited v The Gambling Commission was an application to the High Court Queen’s Bench Division for judicial review of a decision by the Commission when it refused to amend or re-issue a certificate of consent issued to the claimant under the Licensing Act 1968. Under the Act and its Schedule, an application for a casino licence has to be made to a licensing authority. However, prior to the making of the application for a casino licence, the intending applicant must obtain a certificate of consent to make an application from the Commission.


Public recognition of the right to a private life: two effective implementations of the European Convention of Human Rights

In Copland v UK, the European Court of Human Rights recently held that pursuant to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the Government has a duty to respect a person’s email correspondence, and that the interference in question was not justified as no national law existed at the relevant time which permitted such actions by a public authority towards an employee. In the UK, in Ash v McKennitt, the House of Lords rejected a request to rehear a case in which the Court of Appeal had established that it constituted a tort of breach of confidence to write about the private life of an individual in a book.

Commercial information, the press and privacy: Lord Browne of Madingley

The claimant, the CEO of British Petroleum, sought to restrain the defendant from publishing, in the Mail on Sunday, any details of the relationship between the claimant and his former partner, and any confidential or private information that his partner had obtained in the course of their relationship on the ground that they were matters in respect of which the claimant had a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’.

Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd v Vetplus Ltd

Boehringer Ingelheim has succeeded in obtaining an ex parte interim injunction to prevent the publication by Vetplus of scientific results relating to a Boehringer product.


The new Rome II Regulation and its implications for e-commerce

The European institutions are currently discussing the Draft Regulation on the Law Applicable to Non-contractual Obligations (Rome II) which attempts to harmonise the relevant rules on the law applicable to non-contractual liability.


  • UK Intellectual Property Office Reviews 2006
  • European Commission plans after European Patent Litigation Agreement
  • Enforcement Directive: approval for tougher sanctions against counterfeiters


  • Trading Standard Officers to act against piracy and counterfeiting goods
  • Copyright in works of the National Assembly for Wales