European IP Bulletin, Issue 49

Overview


In Depth

Patents

The London Agreement

The London Agreement will enter into force on 1 May 2008 and will apply to all patents granted after that date. This article examines the effect of the Agreement in respect of the translation process under the European Patent Convention.
Symbian – more hope for patentability of computer program inventions

On 18 March 2008, the English High Court allowed the appeal in Symbian Ltd v Comptroller-General of Patents [2008] EWHC 518 (Pat) from the decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office refusing the grant of a patent on the grounds that the claims related to a program for a computer and therefore were unpatentable. This is a pivotal decision which provides a glimmer of hope for companies developing new technology which has a computer program(s) at its core.

Designs

Choos and handbags – no such thing as innocent infringement of design right in Europe?

The English High Court’s decision in J Choo (Jersey) Ltd v Towerstone Ltd [2008] EWHC 346 (16 January 2008) heralds the possibility of strengthened protection for handbag and shoe designs and similar accessory items under Community registered design (CRD) legislation. Granting summary judgment to Jimmy Choo, Mr Justice Floyd denied the “innocent infringer defence” to CRDs, thereby providing a clear advantage in having a CRD as opposed to a UK registered design.

E-Commerce

maestro.co.uk – no evidence, no transfer

In a rare appeal of the Nominet Appeal Panel, Maestro has failed in its bid to have the domain name maestro.co.uk transferred to its stable of existing domain names. The Appeal Panel rejected Maestro’s arguments regarding abusive registration and, in doing so, emphasised that regardless of how well-known a brand may be, complaints filed with Nominet must be supported by evidence.

ISP data “pimping” – Phorm under fire over privacy concerns for targeted advertising technology

Three of the UK’s top internet service providers are considering deploying technology that would enable them to track users’ browsing data and provide this information to advertisers via an exchange platform in return for a share of revenue. The effect of the technology being that users visiting certain websites would be targeted with relevant advertisements based on their previous browsing activity. This article reviews the legality of this technology and discusses its potential impact.

Commercial Transactions

Construction of contractual terms – private dictionary principle

On 12 March 2008, in Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 183, the English Court of Appeal rejected an appeal from a decision of Mr Justice Briggs in a dispute over the construction of a term relating to the price under a development agreement. In its decision, the Court analysed the so-called “private dictionary” exception, whereby the meaning of a contractual term may be determined from prior negotiations, where the words or phrase in issue are not defined in the contract.