Since December 2008 there have been over 100 adjudications before the Companies Names Tribunal, all of which - until now - have been in favour of the applicant. A recent case demonstrates that where a similar name is adopted by a company for genuine reasons, that company's rights can be protected.
Wilko Retail Limited v Buyology Limited considers the availability of a Norwich Pharmacal order for rights owners to obtain the disclosure of the identities of manufacturers and suppliers of infringing goods. In this case the claimant had not obtained the information and had already settled the claim, but the court refused to grant an order as it was not persuaded that the 'balance of irreparable harm' test would justify that grant.
The High Court recently ruled that a sub-licence is capable of surviving termination of its head licence in certain (albeit fact-specific) circumstances. Licensors concerned by this decision should ensure that where they grant licences permitting sub-licensing, it should be a condition of such permission that the sub-licence include an express provision for automatic termination on termination of the head licence.
A recent Court of Appeal decision provides a useful overview of the correct principles to be applied when assessing common general knowledge and obviousness. In such cases, where a successful appellant has the validity of its patent restored, it should seek a certificate of contested validity from the court.
The publisher of a database of general practitioners' practices has succeeded in its claim that a "substantial part" of the contents of its database had been extracted by a direct marketing company. The judgment provides useful guidance on assessing this criterion on a quantitative or qualitative basis.
The creator of the Oink file-sharing website has been found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud. The decision underlines that if the government wishes to pursue websites that do not directly infringe copyright material, it must consider adding an offence of facilitating infringement to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. However, a civil action for infringement of copyright by authorization would have made an interesting test case.
Nominet, the organisation that manages the '.uk' top level domain, has refused to order the transfer of the domain name 'opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk' to the owners of Optical Express DCM (Optical Holdings) Limited, finding that the domain name was not an abusive registration, since its purpose was the genuine criticism of Optical Express.