There was one notable Court of Appeal decision this month, concerning Crown use. In a judgment written by Lord Justice Arnold, the Court reversed the decision of the first instance judge, finding that Vodafone did not have a defence of Crown use regarding infringement of a standard-essential patent belonging to IPCom. The decision makes it clear that the suppliers of services to the government need to take steps to ensure they are not infringing if they wish to benefit from the Crown use defence.
In the High Court, Mr Daniel Alexander upheld a UK IPO decision on excluded subject matter, and set out the limited circumstances in which the High Court can overturn a hearing officer’s determination.
Mr Justice Warby’s summary judgment in the case between the Duchess of Sussex and Associated Newspapers, largely in favour of the Duchess, analyses the law on private information and copyright. The judge found that the contents of a letter, extracts of which were published in the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, was private – and that there was no justification for interfering with the Duchess’s reasonable expectation of privacy. The judge also had some insightful comments about the copyright claim.
Also in the High Court, Mr Justice Miles granted two Section 97A blocking orders in cases involving a cyberlocker site and stream ripping sites, both thought to the be the first cases concerning these types of websites. And Deputy Judge Mr David Stone gave a detailed ruling on unregistered design infringement and passing off in a case concerning bodycon and bandage style dress styles: the ruling addressed the question of the boundary between inspiration and unlawful copying.
At the IPEC, there was a decision on trade marks/passing off in a dispute between former business partners who continued to use the same name, and two judgments relating to copyright in computer software.
This month’s Briefing also includes summaries of two decisions of the ASA regarding complaints about Instagram stories written by influencers. This is an area that is likely to generate more disputes in the future.
The IP/IT Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.