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2011 11 14 Les Licensing Course
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2011 11 14 Les Licensing Course

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  • 1. Intellectual Property OverviewObtaining protection and scope of protection:Protecting your company’s intangible assetsWouter Pors
  • 2. Subject of protection - overview Innovation Technology developed by the company Incorporated in products or services Corporate identity Company or division as such Product and service look and feel Product or service as such Many different looks and feels? Is the message still clear? 2
  • 3. Protecting innovation 3
  • 4. Subject of protection Purpose Protecting developments Others will not block you from use Licensing portfolio Cross-licensing Means Patents - obtained by application and grant Copyright - ensues from act of creation Know how - dependent on confidentiality 4
  • 5. Scope of protection Patents Protection of the invention, not just the actual use Idea behind the invention, but legal certainty for third parties Expires after 20 years Copyright Limited to the actual product or format and Others that make the same overall impression Assessed on case by case basis; national law still varies Expires 70 years after death of the maker Know how Scope hard to determine Real problem lies in proof of copying 5
  • 6. The company, the services 6
  • 7. Subject of protection Innovation Corporate identity Identifying your company Marketing your company Creating goodwill (value) Separate from competition Product and service look and feel 7
  • 8. Subject of protection Innovation Corporate identity Product and service look and feel Identifying your company’s products and services Marketing your company’s products and services Creating goodwill (value) Separate from competition 8
  • 9. Means of protection Innovation Corporate identity Indication of origin - collectively, granted by law Trade name - through use in the course of trade Trade mark - application and registration Copyright - ensues from act of creation Product and service look and feel 9
  • 10. Means of protection Innovation Corporate identity Product and service look and feel Indication of origin - collectively, granted by law Trade mark - application and registration Design right - application and registration - unregistered design rights Copyright - ensues from act of creation 10
  • 11. Distinguishing yourselfCompany, products, services •Trade name •Trade mark •Design right •Copyright •Trade dress •Format 11
  • 12. Trade markAny distinctive sign identifying youand your products and services for your public •Name •Logo •Colour •Sound 12
  • 13. Trade marks Monopoly on distinctive sign for products or services Harmonised European law Acquired by registration (first come) Choice between National and European Community International: bundle of national rights Must have distinctiveness (not descriptive) Words, logo’s, shapes, colours, sounds Perpetual, if renewed regularly Works against confusingly similar younger signs 13
  • 14. Many uses for trade mark rights 14
  • 15. Many uses for trade mark rights ECJ 20-09-2007, C-371/06, Benetton v. G-Star: a shape that gives value to a trademark cannot acquire distinctiveness through extensive use 15
  • 16. Baby-dry is distinctive Not valid are signs which may serve in normal usage from a consumers point of view to designate, either directly or by reference to one of their essential characteristics, goods or services such as those in respect of which registration is sought. Furthermore, a mark composed of signs or indications satisfying that definition should not be refused registration unless it comprises no other signs or indications and, in addition, the purely descriptive signs or indications of which it is composed are not presented or configured in a manner that distinguishes the resultant whole from the usual way of designating the goods or services concerned or their essential characteristics. (ECJ 20 September 2001, C 383/99 P) 16
  • 17. But Postkantoor is not! A mark consisting of a word composed of elements, each of which is descriptive of characteristics of the goods or services in respect of which registration is sought, is itself descriptive of the characteristics of those goods or services for the purposes of that provision, unless there is a perceptible difference between the word and the mere sum of its parts: that assumes either that because of the unusual nature of the combination in relation to the goods or services the word creates an impression which is sufficiently far removed from that produced by the mere combination of meanings lent by the elements of which it is composed, with the result that the word is more than the sum of its parts, or that the word has become part of everyday language and has acquired its own meaning, with the result that it is now independent of its components. In the latter case, it is necessary to ascertain whether a word which has acquired its own meaning is not itself descriptive for the purposes of the same provision. (ECJ 12 February 2004, C-363/99) 17
  • 18. Design 18
  • 19. Design Monopoly on shape of product or pattern on product Harmonised European law Acquired by registration (first come) Choice between National and European Community Must be novel Maximum protection 25 years Works against confusingly similar designs Unregistered design right Protection for 3 years Less certainty Fall-back where no copyright can be invoked 19
  • 20. Design 20
  • 21. Design Scope of protection Multiple design registration to protect all features Limitations on design rights: pitfalls Registering new version of product only protects the changes Technical features are not protected (trademark case before the ECJ: Philips v. Remington) Must fit exception for parts Way out: copyright On the design as a whole On specific elements of the design 21
  • 22. Copyright 22
  • 23. Copyright Monopoly on “a work”: text, design, lay-out, format National law, partly European and world-wide harmonisation Copyrights for non-artistic works not accepted everywhere Same goes for technical works Automatic creation by making “a work” (proof of priority needed!) Must be original and bearing the mark of it’s maker World-wide protection if recognised (creative level) Protection 70 years after death of the maker Very broad possibilities Works against copies and look-alikes 23
  • 24. Court of Justice: copyright protected work 16-7-2009, C-5/08, Infopaq Datacapture process Reproduction of press articles by means of an automated process in which these articles are scanned and converted into a numerical file, which can then be processed electronically Electronic collection of newspaper clippings Fragments of 11 words from an article are reproduced Elements which are the expression of the intellectual creation of the author of the work, may be just 11 words 24
  • 25. Application of copyright Traditional: text, music, theatre, film New application Trade dress Software, designs, objects for everyday use TV programme formats Business method formats 25
  • 26. Copyright: trade dress 26
  • 27. Design vs copyright 27
  • 28. Patents vs copyright: technology 28
  • 29. Patents vs copyright: technology Exception for technology as such Dutch Supreme Court 24-2-2006 Technip Kinetic scheme of chemical equations as part of computer simulation program for petrochemical industry Selection relates to objective scientific data and laws of nature, scientific or technical purpose Original and expression of intellectual creation of the maker Selection base on scientific or technical knowledge of the maker, insights and experience Court of Appeal: protection Scope of exception is limited 29
  • 30. Patents vs copyright (business methods) 30
  • 31. Patents vs copyright US: anything under the sun made by man is patentable But: in re Bilski, 30 October 2008 Europe: only technical inventions, no business methods Copyright: once again the solution to provide equality of investment protection between US and Europe? However: does not protect the purely technical solution, “look and feel” have to be added 31
  • 32. Copyright: format protection 32
  • 33. Copyright: format protection Well established: TV-programmes Dutch Supreme Court: Una voce particolare New: business methods District Court The Hague 27 April 2005 Referendumwijzer What is the strategy? Situation unclear Case law still developing Completely accepted in business in media sector Might fill the gap for investors Prepare in case this confirmed in the courts File evidence of the creation of the format and its priority 33
  • 34. Copyright: format protection business methods 34
  • 35. Develop a strategy What exactly are your assets? What are their distinctive features? Which rights should you invoke to protect those? What actions need to be taken for protection? What is your market and where will it go? Don’t take a national approach, rights may vary! Which competing rights are surrounding your assets? What can you afford to invest? How can you postpone investments? 35
  • 36. Exploiting your protection Building a licensing strategy What about transfer pricing and taxation of royalties? Which legal entity should be the right owner and where should it be? Allocate the investments to the right owner! Beware of competition law issues 36
  • 37. Defending your investment Are you prepared to litigate? Pro-active, aggressive or defensive approach? 37
  • 38. Participation of licensees License agreements Involving licensees in your business strategy Non-circumvention Sub-licensing authority Active monitoring of infringements Common approach towards infringements 38
  • 39. Wouter Pors Bird & Bird The Hague Van Alkemadelaan 700 PO Box 30311 2500 GH The Hague T: +31 (0)70 353 8825 F: +31 (0)70 353 8882 M: +31 (0)653 293 896E: wouter.pors@twobirds.com 39