News from the Manor Vol 15

  1. Japan Establishes Overseas Intellectual Property Litigation Insurance Scheme Established for SMEs: The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has established Japan’s first insurance scheme to cover the cost of overseas intellectual property (IP) litigation, to provide a safety net for SMEs that become embroiled in disputes over IP infringements in other countries. The premium will be halved for SMEs enrolling in this insurance scheme if they belong to a nationwide organization that includes SMEs among its members. More on that here.
  2. Medicines Patent Pool Signs New Round of Generic Manufacturing Licences for HIV and Hepatitis C Treatments: Earlier this month, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced new generic manufacturing licences for four antiretrovirals and hepatitis C direct-acting antiviral daclatasvir. The organisation signed licences with Aurobindo, Desano, Emcure, Hetero Labs, Laurus Labs, Lupin and new partner Zydus Cadila for a total of nine new sub-licensing agreements to produce generic versions of key World Health Organization-priority HIV and hepatitis C treatments. According to MPP’s Executive Director – Greg Perry, it is expected that these new sub-licences will secure greater volumes of low-cost medicines for people living with HIV and hepatitis C in low- and middle-income countries.
  3. British IP Day: July 5, 2016 marked the first British IP Day intended to celebrate the huge contribution that Intellectual Property (IP) makes to the UK. More on that here.

  4. V4 Countries Launch Visegrad Patent Institute: The four member states of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) launched the Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI) on July 1, 2016. The Institute is aimed at strengthening regional cooperation in IP. Applicants will be allowed to communicate with the institutions in their respective mother tongues, and fees for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications will be reduced by as much as 40 percent, according to Poland’s Patent Office (UPRP).

  5. Intellectual property fees rise by up to 6,200% in Gulf countries: IP fees have risen in Arabian Gulf countries (UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain)  by as much as 6,200%. While there has been no official explanation from the governments of the affected countries, some lawyers believe that the hike may not be unconnected to attempts to increase revenue following the global oil price slump as well as the move by the Gulf countries to unify their trademark laws and move services online. More on that here.

  6. Thomson Reuters to Sell Intellectual Property and Science Business: Plans are underway for Thomson Reuters Corp. to sell its intellectual property and science business to private-equity funds affiliated with Onex Corp. and Baring Private Equity Asia for $3.55 billion in cash. About $1 billion of the proceeds will be used to buy back shares and the balance will be used to pay down debt and reinvest in the business.

  7. Led Zeppelin Found Not Guilty in “Stairway to Heaven“ Case

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Lazy…not so lazy Saturday Reads

Sometimes, the Lady comes across articles (IP-related, of course), that are too good to keep to herself. Inspired by some of her favourite bloggers, the Lady has decided to curate these articles for your reading pleasure. You may want to grab a cuppa tea or some ice cold drink depending on the weather while you read away.

  1. This was my favourite post this week. It had me chanting #DirtyData all day and even now, as I type. I bet you will be chanting #DirtyData by the time you are done reading.
  2. Now, immediately I saw the title, I thought about our very own PMRS/COSON v MCSN. This, however, is a tale of two collecting societies in Trinidad and Tobago.
  3. Can you identify with any of these branding mistakes? I know I can. It’s also useful advice for your clients.
  4. I cannot ignore a post on Monsato. For those familiar with Monsato or who are curious about the company, here are two updates from India. This came first and then Matthews George decided to play devil’s advocate with this post.
  5. If you read my post on bioprinting, you’d know that I am fascinated with 3-D printing. In US, the Supreme Court has been approached to provide some clarity on copyrightable aspects of 3-D printing.
  6. For fashion lovers, here is some perspective on how fashion intersects with IP.
  7. I could literally feel the author’s excitement in having his book ‘featured’ in a movie. Look out for the comment on incidental inclusion.
  8. You know the Lady loves the  Aistemos team right? Here’s another one. This time around, it is about patent statistics as a measure of a country’s innovation and economic growth.
  9. Could not decide my favourite on the QMJIP blog. Read all, maybe?

Enjoy…

News from the Manor Vol 6

  1. Still on the MTN Copyright Infringement Suit: Remember the copyright infringement allegation against MTN? Well, it appears that MTN has made moves to settle out of court with Dovie Okson Omenuwoma (aka Baba 2010) as the lawyers on both sides have asked for the withdrawal of the charge filed by NCC. NCC however refused to withdraw the charge on the ground that it is a criminal prosecution and a civil settlement cannot preclude the continuation of a criminal matter. On March 3, 2016, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba ruled in favour of NCC stating that both civil and criminal actions can be prosecuted simultaneously in respect of a copyright infringement. The matter had now been adjourned to April 11, 2016 for trial. More details here and here.
  2. The Sequence accuses Bruno Mars of Copyright Infringement: Thanks to the Marvin Gaye win, the cry against sampling seems to be getting louder. This time, it is girl group The Sequence vs Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson. Offending song: Uptown Funk (The Lady is a fan). Apparently Serbian pop star Viktorija also claimed the song her 1984 track single Ulice Mracne Nisu Za Devojke (Dark Streets Are Not For Girls), but never pursued legal action. The Sequence are yet to file an action. You can listen to both tracks here and read more here.
  3. Update on COSON in Owerri: For an update on COSON’s stakeholders forum in Owerri, Imo State which was reported here, visit A, B or C.

News from the Manor Vol 5

  1. AVRS commences licensing of users of Audio – Visual Content: In line with its mandate, the Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) has begun issuing licenses to individuals and organisations for the commercial use of works belonging to its members. These include hotels, advertising agencies, telecommunication and transport companies, airlines and relevant airport facilities, fast food confectioneries, hospitals, and banks. More details here and here. Contact details of AVRS can be found on our directory page here.
  2. MTN responds to NCC’s allegations: These are troubled times for MTN Communications Nigeria. Early February, NCC’s Director of Prosecution, Abdul Ter Kohol alleged that Mr. Ferdi Moolman (CEO, MTN) had been evading service of court papers and refused to honour the invitation of NCC investigators. MTN Executive, Amina Oyagbola, however recently pointed out that Moolman was at no material time to the circumstances, the CEO of MTN. She also added that the matter has been resolved amicably. MTN is being sued by Dovie Okson Omenuwoma for unauthorised use of some of his songs as caller tunes and ringtones.
  3. Accession by OAPI* to the Singapore Treaty: Following the deposit of OAPI’s instrument of accession to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, the Treaty entered into force with respect to OAPI on February 13, 2016. With the accession comes a harmonisation of administrative procedures. Nevertheless, In accordance with Article 29 of the Singapore Treaty:

“The provisions of Article 6 of the said Treaty will not be applicable to OAPI. According to the said provisions, where goods or services belonging to several classes of the Nice Classification have been included in one and the same application, such an application shall result in one and the same registration.

The provisions of Article 19(2) of the Treaty will not be applicable to OAPI. OAPI requires the recordal of a license as a condition for any right that the license may have under the provisions of the Bangui Agreement, to join infringement proceedings initiated by the holder or to obtain, by way of such proceedings, damages resulting from an infringement of the mark which is the subject of the license”.

  1. Information Minister Sacks Head of NBC and others: In a recent meeting with the heads of parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Minister (Lai Mohammed) communicated the decision of the Federal Government to disengage them. The affected parastatals and Chief Executives are Ima Niboro – News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Emeka Mba – Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mike Omeri – National Orientation Agency (NOA), Sola Omole – Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Ladan Salihu – Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and Sam Worlu – Voice of Nigeria (VON).

*African Intellectual Property Organization

There came Peanut Butter Granola and a Trademark Matter

The Lady has a love-hate relationship with the kitchen. Her love for food cannot be denied though. Food is exciting! That goes for peanut butter and granola. When the Lady came across this Peanut Butter Granola recipe, you can bet how excited she was writing her shopping list. Let us pretend for a minute that she did not have a pack of half-eaten store-bought granola in the pantry.

Nevertheless, the Lady went ahead with the grocery shopping excited to try out the new recipe. For peanut butter, the lady picked a jar of Skippy Super Chunk or so she thought. Whilst assembling the ingredients, the Lady realised she had bought this instead …

Super County Peanut Butter
Super County Peanut Butter

.The Lady was immediately reminded that her name had been misspelled on her medical card only a few days back  and she had only realised the error prior to her shopping. That is not to say the Lady is not observant (*huffs*). The Lady proceeded to carefully inspect the product and notes that Super County Peanut Butter is distributed by one Fine Agro Foods Ltd, England. The manufacturer’s details are nowhere stated on the product.

Google was of course the next port of call. A court action perhaps? Well, the Lady was disappointed on that front. She did, however, note the following from her brief research:

  1. The website address (www.fineagrofoods.co.uk) quoted on the product does not exist.
  2. It appears that Fine Agro Foods Ltd was incorporated in England sometime in 2014. (The Lady may have just lost a bet on the origin of company’s director. Oh, she does have a name … ssssshhh!)
  3. It also appears from the label that Super County is a registered trademark. The Lady conducted a quick online search in class 29 of the UK’s IPO trademark database of the word Super County for marks filed between 01/01/1876 and 15/10/2015 and this was the result IPO Search page - Super County IPO Search Result - Super County

Ooopsy daisy…..A possible case of infringement?

Is Skippy registered in the UK? See below for yourself.

IPO Search Result - Skippy

The Lady wonders if either of the trademarks in contention are registered in Nigeria seeing as both products are sold in Nigeria?

Below is an image of Skippy Super Chunk for your comparison. Do have fun comparing the images and share your view on the possible trademark infringement matters arising.

Skippy Peanut Butter
Skippy Peanut Butter

Did the Lady use the Super County? Errrrr…