Sound Mark Registration Attempt Fizzles Out In EU General Court Appeal

In the first ruling on a sound mark submitted as an audio file (rather than a word description of the sound) the General Court dismissed the appeal from the EUIPO's rejection of the application for lack of distinctiveness whilst also clarifying the criteria for assessing the distinctive character of sound marks and the perception of those marks in general by consumers. Ardagh Metal Beverage Holdings v EUIPO (T-668/19) 7 July 2021. Read more

Regulatory reform for software-based consumer health products – new regulations provide clarity but can they keep up with the technology?

Mobile health apps and devices are everywhere (“mHealth”), with Australians now the biggest consumers of health apps per capita. The TGA recently released a suite of reforms on software-based medical devices and consumer health products to better address this area. But what are the impacts on developers, and will the regulations be “future proof” as … Read more

UK IPO Consultation on the UK’s future exhaustion of IP rights regime

The UK Intellectual Property Office has published a consultation on the UK's exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime and what changes might be appropriate post-Brexit, including how such changes should be implemented. The consultation runs for 12 weeks until 31 August 2021. Here we outline the principles behind the different types of exhaustion regime, and summarise the options proposed by the consultation, highlighting the issues associated with each. Read more

EU Action Plan on IP – the challenge ahead

Herbert Smith Freehills' European IP team have had a feature article on the EU's IP Action Plan published in the April edition of PLC Magazine – see EU Action Plan on IP – the challenge ahead here. The article looks at the current challenges for the EU in relation to IP, its key focus areas and plans for future regulation and legislation, including: • The Unified Patent Court (UPC) • Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) • Compulsory licensing • Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) • AI and emerging technologies • Counterfeiting • Designs • Geographical Indications • Data • The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe Read more

Regulatory Disputes in the Consumer Sector: podcast & briefing

Businesses who deal with consumers will generally wish to have a good relationship with Government, regulators and other public authorities. However, there are times when a company’s interests are such that they come into conflict. At those times companies may wish to consider how that conflict might be resolved if it were to reach court. Last June, we created a guide to Regulatory Disputes in the Consumer Sector. Our guide and podcast are designed for businesses that interact with consumers, for example, selling products to the public direct or through retailers, who might have to consider how to proceed when regulatory matters become contentious, and indeed those who work at regulators themselves. Read more

Patent pending: the law on AI inventorship

Last year the UK High Court decided that an AI system cannot be named as inventor on a patent application within the meaning of the Patents Act 1977, simply because an AI is not a person – but with the UKIPO recently calling for views on AI inventorship, could a change in law be on … Read more

Challenges to German ratification of the UPC Agreement trigger delay but possibly not for long

After the German Parliament's upper house, the Bundesrat, passed the legislation to allow Germany to ratify the UPC Agreement (UPCA), there have been two challenges filed before the German Constitutional Court.  As a result, according to information from the Federal President’s office, he has been asked to delay his signature, which is required in order for the legislation to enter into force. This time the challenges include interim injunction applications, but we expect that if these are rejected, Germany will deposit its ratification of the Protocol on Provisional Application of the UPCA and not await the full decision. Read more