IP & IT Law (12 - 26 March)

Feature of the Fortnight

The news has been littered with outrage following the revelation that 50 million Facebook users’ data was harvested by analytics company Cambridge Analytica and used to influence voters in the 2016 American election. According to The Guardian, who detail the breach in full, Trump’s campaign team paid the analytics company $6.2 million, although they deny using Facebook data. As reported by ITProTim Berners-Lee has urged users to care more about the data companies hold and what they do with it, particularly in light of the Cambridge scandal. The creator of the World Wide Web has also expressed his sympathy for Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, whom he claims was ‘abused and misused’ by others. ABC News argues that the Cambridge Analytica scandal is not a data breach – it is merely Facebook following their business model. Whilst the article admits the use of data without consent was a violation, it points out that Facebook’s primary source of revenue is ‘harvesting’ users’ data and profiting from it. The article concludes that such an invasion of privacy should call for regulation of ‘the power of internet giants’.


IP & IT News

First fatal accident involving a driverless car – should the technology slow down?

Mills & Reeve – 20 March

A driverless Uber SUV was involved in an accident, fatally injuring one women when the car failed to stop. The incident has led many to
believe that driverless technology is moving too fast. Although Uber has now stopped its autonomous vehicle testing, California is still attempting to pass regulations to allow autonomous vehicles with no driver present.

Crocs loses EU court battle over patent claim

The Guardian – 14 March

Crocs has lost its legal protection for the design of their shoes following an extensive legal battle. A French retailer made representations to the EUIPO in 2013 about the validity of the Crocs patent. The ECJ ruled that Crocs filed their design patent more than 12 months after they were released to the public, and therefore legal protection should be removed.

WhatsApp signs pledge not to share data with Facebook

Data IQ – 14 March

Messenger service, WhatsApp, has now signed a pledge not to share data with Facebook until the social media giant addresses its data protection issue. WhatsApp was ordered to stop sharing personal data with Facebook in November 2016, ahead of an investigation. The investigation has now found that had WhatsApp shared personal data with Facebook, it would have been illegal.

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