Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Intentionally Misspelled Domain Violates Competition Law

BGH I ZR 164/12

The German Federal Court had to decide a case in which a company used a domain name for its website promoting health insurances, which was almost identical to another companies domain name for a general weather forecast website except of an intentional misspelling, in order to lead users who accidentally typed the domain name wrongly for the weather forecast site to the health insurance promoting site. For every user landing on the latter site the company would receive a fee. The Court held that such business conduct by the "misspelling" company is a violation of competition law affecting the pursuit of business by the company providing the weather forecast website, if the first company does not immediately inform the user who landed on its website that it is not the weather forecast site.

Website Blocking Orders Against UK ISPs

[2013] EWHC 3479 (Ch)

The High Court issued website blocking orders under section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act against the main UK internet service providers such as Sky, BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and others for infringement of copyrights held by major film studios. The relevant websites like TubePlus infringe copyrights by providing access to streams of films hosted by third party websites. The internet service providers host those relevant websites like TubePlus knowing this hosting service is actually used by the websites to infringe copyrights.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Guidance for German State Information Officers on Codes of Conduct

In Germany the group of State Information Officers ("so called Duesseldorfer Kreis") has drafted a guidance, now published by the Bavarian Information Office, on how to assess and approve Codes of Conducts submitted to them by industry groups or other professional associations under section 38a of the Federal German Data Protection Act. (link)

Changes to German Design Act

The German legislator has made changes to the Design Act. Arguably the most significant change is moving the invalidity proceedings away from the general courts to the Patent and Trademark Office in order to reduce time and costs associated with the proceedings. It should make the invalidity proceedings more affordable for small and medium sized companies as well as more comparable to similar proceedings elsewhere in the EU.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Illegal File Sharing and Family Ties

BGH I ZR 169/12

The German Federal Court had to decide on the liability of the holder of a private internet access point for the misuse of such access point by a third party for illegal file sharing online. In this particular case the holder was the father of a family and the third party was his full aged son who still lived with his parents. The court found that because of the family ties and the fact that the relevant persons lived under one roof the father could rely on his son not misusing his internet access and he was not required to monitor his son's online activities or take any other significant measures to prevent a misuse by him. The father was therefore found not liable for the illegal file sharing activities by his son.  

When Data is Personnel

[20113] EWHC 2575 (Admin)

The High Court had to decide whether data contained in a statement given by a third party to an authority was personal data and a disclosure of that information to the applicant would therefore require third party's consent. The court held that the following criteria must be affirmed to determine data is personnel:

a) Data is being processed, recorded or forms part of an accessible record
b) Living individual can be identified from the data
c) Data relates to individual
     - biographical information, identity and characteristics
     - impact on individual's rights and interests

     - individual identifiable and central theme

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Copyright and Linking Third Party Content

BGH I ZR 39 / 12

The German Federal Court had to decide a case of possible copyright infringement where the host of a website provided users with links to protected third party content which they could download. That content was uploaded and hosted by him in a download centre without the consent of the relevant rights owner. The Federal Court found that the activity of the host was copyright relevant because it not only provided a link but also included uploading by himself in a download centre with his full knowledge of the content. It rejected the argument he could be seen as a neutral telecommunications/hosting service provider under EU directive 2000/31/EG and therefore be exempted from liability for copyright infringing content uploaded by third parties.