UK Government should deal definitively with copyright issues on LLM/GenAI training data whilst adopting a positive vision for LLMs to ensure UK does not miss “AI goldrush” – recommends House of Lords Committee

The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee issued its report  "Large language models and generative AI" today (2 February 2024). The Committee concluded that the "goldrush" opportunity that AI presents requires the UK Government to adopt a more positive vision for LLM's in order "to reap the social and economic benefits, and enable the UK to compete globally". The report sets out 10 core recommendations "to steer the UK toward a positive outcome" including measures that might resolve copyright disputes of training data. Here we look at the copyright recommendations specifically. Read more

Copyright, Mickey Mouse and what it means to be within the public domain

In the IP world, 2024 started with headlines that Disney's Mickey Mouse (or at least a version of him) is now in the public domain.  Two horror films and a video game about Disney's famous icon were announced just days into the New Year.  But what does it mean to say that a character has entered the public domain?  And what can people do with Mickey that they could not do before? Read more

Artificial neural networks (AI) not excluded from patentability and have a “substantial technical contribution” finds E&W High Court

In Emotional Perception AI Ltd v Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks the High Court held that a patent application for an artificial neural network (ANN) did not invoke the statutory exclusion from patentability which applies to  computer programs (as such) under s.1(2)(c) Patents Act 1977 as no computer program was claimed (the ANN involved not being such) and if that was wrong, the system's method of selection through the application of "technical criteria which the system has worked out for itself" satisfied the requirement for a technical contribution for the purposes of escaping that subject matter exclusion in any case. The UK IPO has temporarily suspended its guidance on the examination of AI inventions while it considers the impact of this decision and has issued a practice update specifically relating to the examination of ANNs, but it has also been granted leave to appeal. Read more

An overview of the law on ambush marketing – HSF publishes a Practical Law Practice Note

Victoria Horsey and Rachel Montagnon give an overview of the law on ambush marketing for Practical Law. Their practice note (updated and republished in December 2023) describes the ways in which ambush marketing can be prevented, including a case study on the Olympics and reviewing the various attempts that have been made to ambush sporting and other events either physically or via social media. Read more

CMA announces investigation into Unilever’s green claims

On 12 December 2023 the CMA announced that it is investigating green claims made by Unilever for some of its household products which include certain cleaning products and toiletries.  The CMA is concerned that Unilever may be exaggerating the green credentials for these products by using vague and broad claims, unclear statements and the use … Read more

Damages of at least US$1.6 million awarded by the US District Court in the ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ litigation

In May 2023 we reported on the IP infringement decision of the Californian District Court, in relation to the dispute between the creators of the Bored Aped Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible token (NFT) collection, Yuga Labs, and the 'artists' Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen.  In that decision, the Court found against the defendants and, on 25 October 2023, the order for damages was handed down.  This blog post looks at the recent damages decisions and its implications.  (For a refresher on NFTs, you can consult our series here.) As background, the defendants created an NFT collection called the Ryder Ripps BAYC (RR BAYC) collection, which essentially copied the iconic ape images from the Yuga Labs' BAYC collection.  The defendants' alleged that this was for the purposes of commentary on Yuga Labs and the BAYC NFTs.  The Court found against the defendants on the claims of false designation of origin and cyber-squatting (in relation to certain domain names used by the defendants).  It also dismissed the defendants' First Amendment / Rogers defence because no artistic expression was at issue, finding that "As Yuga has pointed out, and the Court agrees, Defendants’ sale of RR/BAYC NFTs is no more artistic than the sale of a counterfeit handbag". Read more

UK Select Committee recommends legislation on AI including to establish and enforce rights of IP owners

The UK Science, Innovation and Technology Select Committee (which recently conducted an inquiry into the impact of AI on several sectors) has published The Governance of Artificial Intelligence: Interim Report identifying 12 challenges of AI, including that for intellectual property, and recommends legislation during this parliament. The report also expresses concerns that the UK will fall behind if there are delays, given the moves made by the EU and US to regulate AI already. On IP it recommends that where AI models and tools make use of other people’s content, policy must establish the rights of the originators of this content, and these rights must be enforced. Read more