Australia: IPT Insights

Last Updated: 8 November 2011
Article by Matthew Glynn and Anthony Willis

THAILAND, JULY 2011

A NEW ERA Of THAI IP LAW ENFORCEMENT?

The new minister of commerce, mr Kittirat na nanong, supported by the Intellectual property department, aims to accelerate the campaign against pirated goods to promote Thailand's image. The campaign is a key aspect of the Thai government's plan to crack down on Ip violations throughout this year and the upcoming year. In the coming months, the Ip department will propose to the new government a set of measures designed to further strengthen Ip rights in Thailand.

JAPAN, MAY 2011

JAPANESE PATENT LAW REFORM BILL PASSED

On 31 may 2011, a reform bill to amend the Japanese patent law was approved by the Japanese diet. The major changes are as follows.

  • Protection of joint inventors: according to current Japanese practice, a joint inventor who has been left off may be able to invalidate a patent issued to other joint inventor(s), but could not claim his ownership in the patent. The new law will allow him to get his ownership back (Japanese patent law, sec. 74).
  • Protection of non-exclusive licensees: according to current practice, non-exclusive licensees could not claim their rights to a patent transferred to a new owner unless the license was registered at the patent office before the transfer. According to the new law, such licensees are allowed to claim their license rights under the patent without registration at the patent office (sec. 99-1).
  • Grace period: according to current practice, if an invention becomes publicly known even through an inventor's own acts (publication, conference, etc), the invention lacks novelty unless he claims an exception to the rule at the time of filing. The new law allows an inventor to file a patent application within six months after such act without claiming exception (sec. 30-2).
  • Reduction of maintenance fees: there was a limited reduction of maintenance fees for small entities. The new law eases the criteria for determining small entities, including educational institutions, and expands the applicable years from the first three years to the first ten years (sec. 109-1).

These changes suggest that the Japanese patent law is shifting from anti-patent to more patent-friendly policies.

AUSTRALIA, SEPTEMBER 2011

HIGH COURT RULES ON PHONE DIRECTORIES CASE

The high court of Australia has refused to grant special leave for Telstra's appeal against a full federal court decision, denying Telstra copyright in its yellow and white pages directories.

Previously, Telstra had brought an action against a competitor, phone directories company pty ltd, alleging copyright infringement in its directories.

In refusing to grant special leave, the high court has 'officially' ended Telstra's ability to assert copyright in its directories. The decision creates greater certainty for users of third-party content, eg software application developers who seek to incorporate 'information' works such as listings, timetables, directories and catalogues.

However, the decision does not mean the end of copyright protection for compilation works, but rather confirms that copyright in such works requires proof of human authorship and some independent intellectual effort in the selection and arrangement of data.

Many expect that the Australian government will follow the lead of other countries and consider legislative change specifically directed at protecting people's investment and labour in the creation of directories, listing and other database works.

INDIA, JUNE 2011

INDIAN TRADE MARKS OFFICE PUBLISHES LIST Of WELLKNOWN MARKS

The office of the registrar of Trade marks in India recently published a list of well-known marks on its website. well-known trademarks are recognised in the Indian Trade Marks Act, 1999. To qualify, the mark should be wellknown to a substantial segment of the public that uses such goods or receives such services. some of the marks that made it to the list include pepsi, pizza hut, yahoo, holiday Inn, Intel, cartier and Benz.

SINGAPORE, JULY 2011

LAUNCH OF NATIONWIDE IP INITIATIVES

The Intellectual property office of singapore announced the launch of two nationwide initiatives, namely the Ip competency framework (IPCF) and 'Ideas2IP'.

The aim of the Ipcf program is to raise the capabilities of Ip professionals and practitioners in the Ip industry. It is targeted not only at Ip professionals from both legal and non-legal backgrounds, but also people from all walks of life who use Ip in one way or another in their daily work. under the framework, four key Ip occupational levels have been identified, with 57 competency units initially created. These will be developed and validated into standards with key industry experts from the Ip services sector, academia and the legal profession over the next three years.

Ideas2IP is an online innovation platform designed to bring inventors and investors together. The platform is intended to provide an environment that encourages disclosure of new ideas and presents the opportunity for the ideas to be brought alive by investors with the means and experience. It is hoped that this platform will allow individual inventors to come forth to share their ideas with potential investors in a safe environment and help turn ideas into commercial reality.

TELECOMS

CHINA, AUGUST 2011

CHINA TELECOM PLANS EUROPEAN LAUNCH

China Telecom is gearing up for its first mobile operations in europe. The company aims to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service across europe, initially targeting customers of chinese origin.

China Telecom is in talks with several european network owners and plans to introduce its mvno service in the uK in early 2012. If the service is a hit in the uK, the company has indicated that it will move quickly into france and germany.

LIFE SCIENCES

INDIA, JULY 2011

EU HALTS SEIZURES OF GENERIC DRUGS FROM INDIA

India and the eu have tentatively settled their dispute over the seizure of Indian generic drugs in transit to other countries at european airports.

The eu has agreed to issue guidelines to customs authorities in all member states directing them not to carry out seizures merely on the basis of suspected patent infringement.

The european commission has also come up with a draft, proposing changes in the customs regulations that would permanently take care of such seizures. It will be placed before eu parliament for clearance once some areas of difference between the eu and India are ironed out.

AUSTRALIA, JUNE 2011

RAISING THE BAR – PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE PATENTS ACT

The Australian parliament is considering significant reforms to the Patents Act 1990 that could increase patentability thresholds and, at the same time, ease access to patentable inventions for research and 'spring-boarding'.

On 22 June 2011, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011 (Bill) was introduced in the senate. while the Bill covers all areas of intellectual property law, the proposed changes to the patent law are the most significant.

In particular, the Bill:

  • expands the scope of 'inventive step': under the Bill, inventive step must be assessed against all of the information available to the public – ie not just information that would be understood by a skilled person
  • bolsters requirements that inventions are useful: the Bill requires that specifications disclose a 'specific, substantial and credible' use (similar to us patent law)
  • raises standards for disclosure: the Bill also requires that specifications disclose the invention in a manner that is clear and complete enough for the invention to be performed by a person skilled in the relevant art. Complete specifications must also disclose the best method known by the applicant to perform the invention (similar to UK patent legislation)
  • provide exceptions for research and spring-boarding activities: the Bill provides specific research exceptions. It also expands the existing pharmaceutical exemption for activities undertaken solely for the purpose of gaining regulatory approval to all technologies.

MEDIA & SPORT

AUSTRALIA, JUNE 2011

SCRUTINY FOR AUSTRALIAN SPORT AND GAMING

In a response to allegations of corruption and misconduct, the Australian government and sporting bodies have announced new measures to overhaul gambling rules for sporting matches.

In June 2011, the government issued a national 'policy on match fixing in sport'. A key feature of the policy is agreement by the federal, state and territory governments to pursue nationally consistent legislation to address corruption in sport.

In parallel, the national rugby league announced that it will introduce new measures to protect the integrity of its game, including banning certain exotic betting options.

INDIA, JUNE 2011

TEN CRICKET WINS INJUNCTION AGAINST PIRATE BROADCASTS

Taj Television has achieved a recent victory in its battle against piracy of the Ten cricket channel. The delhi high court passed a John doe order in favour of Taj Television in early June, right before the screening of the west Indies series. As a result, the cable operators are restrained from receiving and transmitting signals of the Ten cricket channel without permission. This even extends to include unnamed and undisclosed persons who may be breaching the rights of Taj Television in a similar manner. The court has also appointed commissioners and further measures were implemented to ensure compliance with the injunction order.

The west Indies series, to which Ten cricket holds the broadcasting rights, holds significant national interest as it is the Indian team's first international assignment after world cup 2011.

© DLA Piper

This publication is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be, and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this publication.


DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com

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