The European Chamber of Commerce in China (ECCC) has released a
report in which it has made 52 recommendations to reform
China's patent system.
The report critiques the current patent system, saying that it
hampers China's capacity to innovate new technology because
patents are often registered without strong proof of innovation and
discourages global investment due to the theft of technology,
piracy and unfair competition.
A survey conducted by the ECCC, the results of which were
revealed in this report, indicated that 22% of the foreign
investors surveyed are considering moving their projects elsewhere
as a result of the current patent system in China.
GRANOLA GRADUATES FROM TRADE MARK TO GENERIC
In Australian Health & Nutrition Association Ltd (t/as
Sanitarium Health Food Company) v Irrewarra Estate Pty Ltd (t/as
Irrewarra Sourdough)  FCA 592, the Australian federal
Court held that irrewarra had not infringed Sanitarium's
registered trade mark, granola, which it has had registered since
Jagot J held that Irrewarra had merely used the term
"granola" to describe its cereal product and had not used
the term in such a way as to distinguish its product from other
traders. further, it was held that the term "granola" had
evolved into a generic description of a cereal product.
This case serves as an important lesson to trade mark owners to
ensure they protect their trade marks from becoming generic terms.
This can be achieved by ensuring that even a word such as
"granola" is used as a brand or a badge of origin.
SINGAPORE'S LEMON LAWS COME INTO EFFECT
On 1 September 2012, Singapore's "Lemon Laws" came
According to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), the
Lemon Laws will provide consumers with remedies for goods that fail
to conform to a relevant sale contract at the time of delivery
(known as "lemons"). CASE states that, under the new
laws, consumers will be able to report a defect in goods (but not
services) to retailers within six months of purchase. If they do,
the assumption will be that the defect existed at the time of
delivery, unless the retailer can prove otherwise (or if the items
have a short life span or are consumables). The laws oblige
retailers to repair, replace, refund or reduce the price of the
If a defect is reported after the six-month period, consumers
may still seek recourse but the onus will shift to the consumer to
prove that the defect existed at the time of delivery.
The Lemon Laws have been implemented following public
consultations undertaken by a taskforce co-chaired by the Ministry
of Trade and Industry and CASE.
ADVERTISING STANDARDS APPLY TO FACEBOOK
The Australian Advertising Standards Board (Board) recently
determined that the provision of the Advertisers Code of Ethics
(Code) applied to Facebook "fan" pages.
The Board was unconvinced by the arguments of Diageo Australia
Ltd that its Smirnoff Facebook Page was a "tool to network
with adult consumers of legal purchase age for alcohol" and
instead found that the page was a "marketing and communication
tool", which Diageo had a reasonable degree of control over
and was using to draw the public's attention to, and promote,
In this context, the Board held that Diageo was responsible for
all content on the page, even content uploaded or posted
by a third party, but did not find any of the content of the
Smirnoff Facebook Page to actually be in breach of the Code.
ONLY A CHANGE OF LAW CAN SAVE TV NOW
previous issue,we noted that Singtel Optus (Optus) was to
appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court that its TV Now
recording system infringed the Australian Copyright Act
1968 (Cth). That appeal has now been denied by the High Court
While the High Court's decision means that Optus has no
further legal avenue of appeal, media reports suggest that Optus is
hoping the law might be changed following the review of copyright
laws and the digital economy currently being undertaken by the
Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).
The ALRC has released an issues paper inviting interested
parties to make a submission and is due to report at the end of
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
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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