Bloomsbury IP/IT Briefing: February Teaser

This months’ briefing includes a CJEU ruling on trade marks and morality, a trade mark case involving Red Bull, two copyright cases and the latest FRAND patent decision. We also have news on the EU’s digital strategy, new UK government appointments and the positions being taken by both sides regarding IP in the coming Brexit negotiations.

In Case C-240/18 P Constantin Film Produktion GmbH v EUIPO [ECLI:EU:C:2020:118] the Court of Justice of the EU has reversed lower decisions, and said the EUIPO must give a fresh decision on Constantin Film’s application to register an EU trade mark for Fack Ju Göhte.

In the High Court, Red Bull was successful in a trade mark infringement case against Big Horn UK and its sole director Lyubomir Enchev (Red Bull GmbH v Big Horn UK Ltd & Ors [2020] EWHC 124 (Ch)). Red Bull alleged that the defendants’ use on energy drinks and bottled water of three signs featuring bulls infringed three of its registered EU trade marks.

The two copyright cases were Take-Two Interactive Software Inc & Anor v James & Ors [2020] EWHC 179 (Pat), which concerned cheat software for the video game Grand Theft Auto V, and Response Clothing Ltd v The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd (Rev 1) [2020] EWHC 148 (IPEC), which involved fabrics with a wave arrangement design.

The latest FRAND case to come before the courts, IPcom GmbH & Co Kg v Vodafone Group Plc & Ors [2020] EWHC 132 (Pat), was notable as it addressed the Crown use in Sections 55 to 59 of the Patents Act, alongside other issues. The judge found out that the defence applied to Vodafone’s testing and activation of a government-led scheme for mobile telephone access in an emergency.

The European Commission has launched a new strategy for data and a public consultation on a White Paper on Artificial Intelligence, while the UK government has appointed a new IP minister and a new minister for digital and culture.

Following the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January, the UK government and European Commission have set out their negotiating positions, including on IP. One consequence of the UK’s ruling out of any jurisdiction for the CJEU is that it will no longer take part in the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court.

The IP/IT Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.

Written by James Nurton

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