The European Council has finalised its position on the directive setting out new rules relating to the supply of digital content and digital services, acknowledging it as a priority for the Digital Single Market. The makings of the proposed directive were initially presented by the European Commission in late 2015 as part of the move towards a connected digital single market. On 8 June 2017, the European Council adopted its position on the scope of the proposed directive, the remedies for lack of supply and non-conformity, supplier liability and burden of proof restrictions.
In an earlier blog, we outlined that the UK confirmed its intention to ratify the International Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. In December 2016, the UK government proceeded to sign the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court. The Protocol provides EU privileges and immunities to the judges of the Unified Patent Court necessary for the exercise of its functions. The Protocol is required in the individual countries hosting divisions of the court, one of which is in London. This positive step would suggest that the UK is moving closer towards ratification.
The UK has confirmed today that it intends to ratify the International Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, reportedly made the statement at a meeting of the EU Competitive Council.
There has been much commentary on the political and legal challenges the UK would face in joining the system post-Brexit. It does remain the possibility that the UK could join the system and then be ejected, something which is most likely to be determined post-Brexit.
In 2013, Mr Justice Gilligan refused an injunction sought by Galway Free Range Eggs Limited restraining Hillsbrook Eggs Limited from packaging or promoting their products under the name “O’Brien’s of Galway Free Range Eggs”. The Court held that it was not satisfied that the packaging used by the defendant was likely to deceive the public but did accept that there were issues to put forward to trial.
The substantive High Court hearing was held recently before Mr Justice Tony O’Connor and one of the bigger issues before the Court was the use of survey evidence and the weight to be attached to such opinion evidence. The Court was highly sceptical of the value of market opinions and related questionnaires and stated that in this specific case “the evidence offered on behalf of the plaintiff concerning brand confusion was tenuous and unreliable”.
Following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, the EU Trade Secrets Directive (2016/943)on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure will enter in to force on the 5 July 2016. Member States will have two years from this date to implement the provisions of the Directive into national law.
The High Court in the UK has again endorsed the use of predictive coding, ruling it as being the most appropriate and proportionate approach to disclosure despite disagreement between the parties surrounding its use. In a previous blog, we outlined how the UK High Court in the Pyrrho case ruled that predictive coding was appropriate to discharge a parties obligations regarding electronic disclosure.
In the most recent judgment, (yet to be published), the concept of using predictive coding in a disclosure exercise was strongly contested. Berwin Leighton Paisner acting for the respondent note that the petitioner’s solicitors wished to adopt a “traditional” approach to document review, where the inboxes of an agreed a list of custodians would be filtered using an agreed list of search terms, and the responsive documents would be subject to a manual review. It was put to the court that the costs of the traditional approach would be excessive, and that superior results could be achieved at a more proportionate cost using predictive coding.
The European Council was yesterday due to adopt the directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (“Trade Secrets Directive“), following a vote by the European Parliament on 15 April 2016. This was following a long legislative process which began with a draft directive in 2013.
The High Court in the UK has fully endorsed the use of predictive coding in discharging a parties obligation regarding electronic disclosure. Master Matthews, in Pyrrho Investments and others v MWB Property and others  EWHC 256 (Ch), noted in this case that "there were no factors of any weight" to point in the direction of not using predictive coding for the disclosure process. This is the first time a UK Court has given judgment on the area, while noting the limited Irish and US jurisprudence on the topic.
Predictive coding, often referred to as technology assisted review, is the use of computer software to review and analyse documents, determining if they are of relevance to the issues of the case. It is not without human input however, as the computer must first be "trained" in order to determine relevance. Based on the training received the software can review and score documents for relevancy, subject to quality assurance exercises carried out by the human reviewer.
The International Patents Group at Taylor Wessing recently launched their online patent map, an interactive tool that allows users to compare different patent litigation regimes across Europe. The tool answers key questions on the law and practice of patent litigation to include procedure, claim construction, validity, interim measures, costs, and appeals, while allowing users to compare the answers for other European countries. A&L Goodbody contributed to the Irish section.
A Californian Judge, Gail J Standish, recently dismissed a copyright lawsuit where it was alleged that Taylor Swift had copied lyrics for her popular song "Shake It Off". Taylor Swift is in fact an avid fan of enforcing her own copyright, was facing a $42 million damages claim. Jesse Graham filed the lawsuit claiming that Taylor Swift had stolen the lyrics "haters gonna hate" from a song he wrote in 2013 following a refusal of an original writing credit and a selfie with the star. The Court ruled that the plaintiff did not provide enough factual evidence and that the allegations were not more than speculative. In defending the claim there was evidence to show that the phrases "haters gonna hate" and "players gonna play" were long in existence before being used by Jessie Graham. The plaintiff had also admitted that the songs were in no way similar. The ruling itself quotes from numerous Taylor Swift songs noting that "at least for the moment, the Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit."