The EU Trademark Regulation (2015/2424/EU) (the “new Regulation”) amending the Community Trademark Regulation (the “old Regulation”) entered into force on 23 March 2016. Among other things, it brought about new rules concerning the transit of counterfeit trademark goods through the EU.
Continue Reading The Transit of Goods Under the New EU Trademark Regulation

In a dispute between the operator of a public Wi-Fi network and Sony Music over the download of copyright-protected music via that network, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was asked to clarify whether and to what extent the operator of a shop, hotel or bar that offers free Wi-Fi to the public is liable for copyright infringements committed by the network’s users (C-484/14).
Continue Reading CJEU Advocate General: Retailers Offering Free Wi-Fi Not Liable for Patrons’ Copyright Infringements

On 5 November 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that a copyright holder’s right to distribute its work to the public (Section 17 para. 1 of the German Copyright Act) includes the right to offer the original, or a copy, of a protected work to the public for sale. Thus, any unauthorized advertisement of the original or a copy of that work constitutes copyright infringement.
Continue Reading Copyright Holder’s Exclusive Right to Distribute Work Includes Right to Advertise the Original or any Copy of that Work

On 30 September 2015, the General Court of the European Union (T-364/13) ruled that the caiman logo that Polish apparel company Mocek and Wenta sought to register with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) was similar enough to Lacoste’s iconic crocodile logo to cause confusion. Thus, the Court upheld the OHIM’s refusal to register the sign
Continue Reading Lacoste Wins EU Trademark Fight Over its Crocodile Logo

In its judgment of 6 October 2015 (C-362/14), the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) held that transfers of personal data of European citizens to the United States made under the so-called Safe Harbor scheme are subject to significant risks, and declared the corresponding decision of the European Commission to be invalid. As a consequence, EU entities of U.S. companies so far relying on Safe Harbor will need to revise their practice of submitting personal data to the U.S. to comply with EU data protection law.
Continue Reading Redefining Data Protection? Court of Justice of the European Union Strikes Down the Commissions “Safe Harbor” Decision

The right to televise sporting events is one of the most valuable commodities in the broadcasting sector. When reports surfaced that live-streaming apps, such as Periscope and Meerkat, had been used to transmit live streams of the “fight of the century” between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao on 2 May 2015, they raised the issue of the copyright implications of these kinds of applications.
Continue Reading Live-Streaming Apps and Sporting Events – Copyright Law Concerns

The social media platform Twitter has been reportedly removing tweets at the request of users who believe their content has been wrongfully appropriated. According to Twitter user @PlagiarismBad, Twitter replaced the text of those tweets with an explanation that the tweets were “withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder”. This raises the issue of the extent to which retweeting a message on Twitter can actually be construed as copyright infringement. In its Copyright and DMCA policy, Twitter states that it “will respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement, such as allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted image as a profile photo, header photo, or background, allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted video or image uploaded through our media hosting services, or Tweets containing links to allegedly infringing materials.” However, Twitter did not specifically include the written word within these Guidelines.
Continue Reading Tweets Reported as Infringing Copyright Deleted by Twitter – Are Tweets Copyrightable?

The exclusive rights conferred by a patent may be subject to limitations based on competition law. For example, patents that have been declared essential to an industry standard (so-called standard essential patents, “SEP(s)”) shall be made available for licensing to all third parties under fair, reasonable and non discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms in order to comply with Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) which sets forth that any abuse of a dominant position within the internal market shall be prohibited. This interface between patent and competition law is an area of potential friction and has been a matter for the courts for some years.
Continue Reading Court of Justice of the European Union Provides Restrictions for Asserting Standard Essential Patents in Europe

Two recent judicial decisions in Germany have the potential to limit the scope of protection conferred by color trademark registrations. Since color marks lack inherent distinctiveness and are, therefore, not per se registerable, the issue, in both proceedings, turned on whether the applicant had submitted actual evidence of acquired distinctiveness.
Continue Reading German Courts Decide on the Validity of Color Trademarks (and on the Evaluation of Survey Evidence)

On 16 June 2015, the General Court of the European Union (GC) has dismissed an application for a declaration of invalidity in respect of a three-dimensional Community Trademark for the shape of a LEGO figure. Rival company Best-Lock, which offers LEGO-compatible building blocks, had argued, among other things, that the shape of a LEGO figure