The Court of Appeal gave a rare judgment on confidential information this month, in a case concerning former employees of Trailfinders who had gone to work for a rival. The judgment provides guidance on the legal test for finding whether an equitable obligation of confidence arises, and on liability.
In the High Court, there were decisions regarding patents, trade marks, copyright and domain names.
In a case concerning patents for DNA sequencing, Mr Justice Birss discussed the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on insufficiency in Regeneron v Kymab. Another patent case, regarding ostomy bags, addressed obviousness and in particular the meaning of ‘inventive concept’.
In trade marks, Mr Justice Michael Green rejected a claim by the owner of the Beverly Hills Polo Club trade marks in the UK and EU regarding the sale of goods on amazon.com. The claim concerned the advertising and sale of goods bearing the BHPC trade mark, which is owned by a different company in the US. But the judge found that listings on amazon.com were not ‘targeted at’ UK or EU consumers. In a passing off case concerning similar brands featuring an eagle, between Lyle & Scott and American Eagle, Mr Justice Miles upheld a decision permitting the claim to be served out of the jurisdiction.
The judgment in the retrial of the Florence Foster Jenkins copyright case found (contrary to the original trial) that there was joint authorship, and the contribution of the joint author was 20%. The judge, Mr Justice Meade, had to contend with contradictory and sometimes untruthful evidence, and stressed that his judgment was based on the facts and did not necessarily create any new legal principles.
A ruling regarding the domain name blackjack.com was notable for being the first time that a UK judge has found that a domain name is intangible personal property.
Other developments include some announcements from the UK IPO following the end of the Brexit transition period, new rules and judges in the courts and an Opinion on the GDPR from the CJEU, in an important data protection case concerning Facebook.
The IP/IT Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.