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Shape Change Not Inventive

For a patent to be valid, it is not sufficient that it is simply something new. There has to be an inventive step over the 'prior art', so that the item or process for which the patent is sought is not an obvious development. This test is at the heart of...

Internet Search Confusion Not Enough for Trade Mark Infringement

Argos is a well-known retailer in the UK and owns its trade name. However, the argos.com web domain is owned by a US company which specialises in computer-aided design and that company uses 'Argos' on its website as well as in its domain name. Argos took...

Pioneering Psychologist Blocks Abusive Use of His Name Online

A recent case in which web searches for a pioneering psychologist led to a website selling shoes and clothes shows the extent to which Nominet, the Internet watchdog, will act to protect the rights that people have in their own names. The psychologist had a...

High Court Keeps Commercially Sensitive Product Information Secret

Litigation often requires disclosure of highly sensitive commercial details. However, as one intellectual property case concerning a mapping database showed , the courts do have sophisticated means of keeping such information under wraps. A company had...

Developing Others' Ideas Can Itself Be Novel and Inventive

Patents that merely repeat pre-existing ideas are invalid – there has to be something novel about an invention to secure patent protection. However, that does not mean that developments based on the work of others cannot themselves be novel and...

Customer Details Email Leads to Fine for Ex-Employee

When an employee left her recruitment agency employer, she took the dubious step of emailing to her private email address the personal data of about 100 of her clients and contacts. She subsequently used the data to contact them in connection with her new...

Business Sales and Domain Rights

Buying and selling a business can be a complex matter and engaging a professional to make sure that deals are watertight and all the necessary actions are taken is a sound investment. In one case where that did not happen , a costly dispute developed...

Branded Goods Sold Without Authority Can Lead to Prosecution

It is well known that the sale of counterfeit goods is a criminal offence and prosecutions are by no means unusual. A recent case looked at the position in which goods protected by a registered trade mark are offered for sale with the brand owner's...

Backups Not For Sale

Backup copies of software are made routinely, and the sale of software no longer used is also commonplace, despite the fact that in many cases the software licence is not legally transferable. However, what would the position be if the original purchaser...

Shape Must Convey Brand to Create Goodwill

Many household objects are of a similar shape and even where the shape of an object made by a manufacturer has a particular style, the existence of intellectual property rights in that style will depend on it being unique to the point that potential...
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