Tuesday, 17 December 2013

UK To Introduce Second Level Domains

Nominet approves *.uk domains

Nominet, the UK internet registry company, has approved plans to offer registrations directly before the ‘dot’ in .uk. From summer 2014, shorter, simpler ‘example.uk’ domain names will be available, representing the biggest modification of the .uk namespace since it began. In the small proportion of instances where there could be competition – e.g. where one person holds example.co.uk and another holds example.org.uk – the shorter domain will be offered to the .co.uk registrant. (link)

Data Processing and Advertising

New guideline for Germany by "Düsseldorfer Kreis"

Many companies like to process personnel data of individuals, which they are dealing with in the course of their business, in order to use such data for the promotion and advertising of their products or services. The committee of the governmental information officers in Germany ("Düsseldorfer Kreis") has now published guidance on a compliant data processing for advertising purposes under German law.(link)

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Use of Protected Works by University Without Licence

BGH 1 ZR 76/12

The German Federal Court had to decide on the limits of the use of protected works by an University in its lectures. In support of research and education the German copyright law regulates the free use of a small part of the work protected by copyright. The University made some parts of a scientific book available to its students via a digital platform without retaining a licence from the copyright holder. The Court found that a small part of a work should be interpreted as maximum of 12% or 100 pages of the book. 

Statutory Information in Google Adwords Advertisement

BGH I ZR 2/12

The German Federal Court found that statutory information with regard to a product or service, in this case a pharmaceutical product promoted in a Google Adwords-Ad, does not need to be contained in the digital advert itself but it needs to provide a link to the a site or other display where the statutory information can be directly found and easily read.

Facebook and the Beheading Video

Facebook's contentious censor policy

Beginning of the year Facebook removed a video on its site which showed the beheading of a woman in Mexico due to the mounting complaints of relatives, rights groups, business circles, politicians and parts of the general public. In October Facebook allowed the video back on arguing the video was shown to condemn the violence. End of that month Facebook banned the video again under the mounting pressure. Facebook prohibits nudity, drug use and pornography on its site. It also bans the glorification of violent content but pursuits a case-by-case strategy in order to accommodate the condemnation of violence. 

Copyright Infringement and Warning Letters

Gesetz gegen unseriöse Geschäftspraktiken / Act against improper business practices.

The German legislator passed a new law which amends various existing laws, in particular those relating to the provision of legal services and the court proceedings, to give better protection against improper business practices. Among others it amends the regulations of the copyright law with respect to warning letters to be sent to the infringer. The letter has to fulfil certain material requirements. The legal expenses claim has a new cap.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Exhaustion of Distribution Rights and Contract Clauses

LG Hamburg 315 O 449/12

The District Court of Hamburg found two clauses in SAP's software licensing terms and conditions invalid. The first clause limits user's right to transfer the software (client-server model). The second clause restricts any use of the software beyond the originally contractually agreed use which would be the case for example if user adds additional clients to it. In both clauses the transfer or additional use is made subject to prior approval by SAP.

The Court held that the software licensing terms constitute a sale of the software copies and that therefore the mandatory principle of exhaustion of distribution rights applies to the sold copies. The first clause would limit user's right to transfer such copies to prior approval by SAP and is therefore invalid. The second clause implies that user can only add more clients to the software by procuring it from SAP and not a third party. This would conflict with one of the intents of the exhaustion principle which is to make a sold copy generally marketable. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Prevention Obligation of File-Sharing Host

BGH I ZR 80/12

The German Federal Court has previously ruled that a file-sharing host is obliged to delete the IP infringing copies uploaded to his platform once he gains knowledge of it, e.g. by being notified of it. The Court now added the obligation for the host to also scan all his data on the platform for other uploaded copies of that particular protected work in questions, e.g. other uploads of the same music song.

IP MoU Between UK And Taiwan


The British Trade & Cultural Office in Taiwan and the Taipei Representative Office in the UK completed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Intellectual Property to increase information sharing and create the necessary regulatory environment. (link)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

US First Sale Doctrine vs EU Exhaution Principles

US District Court, Southern District of New York No.12 Civ. 95 RJS (Capitol Records LLC v ReDigi Inc)

The US District Court of New York found that the second hand digital music platform of ReDigi violated Capitols copyright in the music by allowing users to upload and sell music they had previously downloaded rightfully onto their computer, iPod or other device. The First Sale Doctrine would not apply because it was not the music file on the tangible device that was sold on but a copy of it created in the process of uploading the music to the platform. 

ECJ C 128/11

The European Court of Justice decided recently for the sale of second hand software that the used software did not have to be transferred with the device it was first downloaded onto for the software vendor's distribution right in the software to exhaust but it was sufficient for the second buyer to make a new copy on another tangible device by downloading again from the software vendor's website.

Court Competence, Cross-Border Consumer Transactions and the Internet

ECJ C-218/12

The European Court of Justice holds that if a vendor targets a consumer market in another country for its products via its website than the local court in that other country is competent for litigation between vendor and consumer even if the website itself was not cause of the product transaction undertaken between the two parties.

Broadband Flatrate and Speed Reduction

LG Cologne 26 O 211/13

The Regional Court of Cologne found a clause in Deutsche Telekom's general user terms unenforceable which allowed the provider to reduce the speed of a flat-rate broadband connection once the user had reached the contractually agreed maximum use per time.

Unwanted Recommendation Email via Website

BGH I ZR 208/12

The German Federal Court finds that an email sent via a function on a vendor's website allowing another party to send an email from that website to a third party recommending that website, without the prior consent of the third party, is to be treated like an unwanted advertising email by the vendor.

Violent Threats via Facebook

OLG Hamm 2 UF 254/12

The German regional court of appeal in Hamm decided that also violent threats conveyed via an internet site, here Facebook, justify issuing victim protection orders under the violence protection act.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

ISPs Ordered to Block Infringing Websites

[2013] EWHC 2058 (Ch)

High Court confirms ISPs have to block website (FirstRow) providing copyright infringing links to third party's protected content 

New Information Obligations for Data Protection Breaches

EU 611/2013

New EU regulation 611/2013 started on 25.08.13 specifying information obligation for data protection breaches

Used Software Sale is Legal

BGH I ZR 129/08

Downloading used software

German Federal Court confirms legality of sale of used software also if new download of software from copyright holder’s website is required 

MS "SkyDrive" Infringes Trademark

EWHC [2013] 1826

England and Wales High Court finds Microsoft’s “SkyDrive” name for its cloud storage service violates Sky Broadcasting’s "sky" trademarks

Personal Rights Violation by Google's Auto-Complete Function

BGH VI ZR 269/12

German Federal Court holds that Google has to remove result of auto-complete function in search engine if notified by affected party of violation of personal rights by auto-completed search result 

Data Protection Violation by Apple's TCs

LG Berlin 15 O 92/12

Berlin high court finds eight data protection clauses in Apple's general terms violating German Data Protection Law

Non-Technical Features and Patentability

EPO T-1670/07

Technical effect of non-technical feature

European Patent Office confirms in the Nokia Siemens Networks case the requirement of technical effect for computer implemented inventions also in case of interaction between technical and non-technical features 

Facebook Fan Page and Data Protection Violation

Schleswig-Holstein VG 8 A 218/11 

German Administrative Court of Schleswig-Holstein decides that the user of a Facebook fan page is not responsible for data protection violations of the page due to lack of technical and practical influence on data handling by the site

Transfer Method Unpatentable

[2013] EWHC 2673

England and Wales High Court finds that invention for method of transferring data between computers without continuous communication is unpatentable 

Fast Track for Trademark Protection

Trade Mark Tribunal

New procedure

UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) introduces fast track procedure within Trade Mark Tribunal to provide faster, cheaper and less complicated way for business to protect their trade marks (link)

Local Court Competence and the Internet

ECJ C-170/12

Place of rights and damage

European Court of Justice clarifies in case of copyright infringement via internet that the local court of the country is competent which protects rights referred to by claimant and in which district the damage occurs 

Data Protection Violation

[2013] EWCA Civ 333

Individual's Distress

England and Wales Court of Appeal generally quantifies appropriate damage for individual's distress by data protection violation as £750

Patents County Court renamed

Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC)

At the end of significant court reforms the England and Wales Patents County Court has been renamed to Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) in order to clarify its all IP matters covering jurisdiction (link)

Unfair Advertising

BGH I ZR 209/11

Competitor's Claim

German Federal Court finds that not only parties targeted by unfair advertising but also competitors have a right under German Unfair Competition law to request a company to end unfair business practice