In a recent case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considered whether a functional shape is precluded from copyright protection. The case was referred from the Commercial Court of Liège (Belgium) (C-833/18).

Background

The original case before the Commercial Court of Liège concerned a claim for copyright infringement brought by an English company, Brompton Bicycle Ltd (Brompton). Since 1987, Brompton has marketed and sold folding bicycles. The Brompton Bicycle, which was protected by a patent until 1999, has the distinct feature of having three different positions: (i) a folded position; (ii) an unfolded position; and (iii) a stand-by position enabling it to stay balanced on the ground.

When a South Korean company, Get2Get, started marketing a bicycle that could also be folded into the same three positions as the Brompton Bicycle, Brompton brought a claim for copyright infringement. In its defence, Get2Get claimed that the shape of the Brompton Bicycle could not be protected by copyright law because its appearance is dictated by the technical solution sought, which is to ensure that the bicycle can be folded into three different positions.


Continue Reading Is a functional shape precluded from copyright protection?

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The CJEU has once again been asked to consider the meaning of “communication to the public” within Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive.

In Stichting Brein v Ziggo BV, XS4ALL Internet BV (Case C‑610/15), the CJEU has been asked to identify  the scope of liability for copyright infringement committed by ‘card providers,’ namely sites such as The Pirate Bay, where files containing music and films are shared free of charge, and usually in breach of copyright.

On 8 February, 2017, the Attorney General (AG) delivered an Opinion advising the CJEU to find copyright infringement where a website (such as The Pirate Bay) indexes content available on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, even where there is no actual content on the website.  However the AG found copyright infringement will only occur where the website operator has actual knowledge of the illegality and takes no action. Accordingly, if copyright holders notify a site’s operators of the illegal nature of information appearing on the site, and they fail to take action to make access to that work impossible, then the site operator may be held liable.


Continue Reading AG advocates finding of copyright infringement by The Pirate Bay

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EU consumers of online content services such as Netflix, Spotify or Sky Sports will soon be able to access their subscriptions while on holiday in or when otherwise visiting another Member State, due to the lifting of existing restrictions by a proposed new EU Regulation.

Continue Reading No Frontiers! – EU Consumers to enjoy cross-border access to online content services

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Under the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) the owner of copyright material has the exclusive right to control any "communications to the public" of their protected works.

In an advisory opinion to the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU"), Attorney General Wathelet (the "AG"), recently considered whether the act of posting a hyperlink directing users to infringing content on a third party website would give rise to copyright infringement.


Continue Reading New Guidance On Whether Hyperlinking May Constitute Copyright Infringement

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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

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The US Court of Appeals (the Court) recently gave judgment on whether a type of yoga would fall within the remit of copyright in the case of Bikram Yoga College of India v. Evolution Yoga, LLC, 2015 WL 5845415.  The case concerned Bikram yoga – a popular style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudry (the plaintiff in the present case) over 20 years ago which consists of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercise, designed to systematically work every part of the body, and is performed in a hot room.


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A French Supreme Court (the Cour de Cassation) has recently overturned a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal which had given a 2013 ruling in a copyright infringement case. The case involves the famous Longchamp "pilage" bag which, according to Longchamp, is the most copied bag in the world. The Cour de Cassation found that the Court of Appeal was in violation of the French Intellectual Property Code (Article L. 122-4) which deems it illegal to reproduce fully or partially a protected work without the authorisation of the right holder. 


Continue Reading Longchamp – French Supreme Court rules on copyright infringement

Photo of Alison Quinn

A French Supreme Court (the Cour de Cassation) has recently overturned a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal which had given a 2013 ruling in a copyright infringement case. The case involves the famous Longchamp "pilage" bag which, according to Longchamp, is the most copied bag in the world. The Cour de Cassation found that the Court of Appeal was in violation of the French Intellectual Property Code (Article L. 122-4) which deems it illegal to reproduce fully or partially a protected work without the authorisation of the right holder. The supreme courts (Cour de Cassation and Conseil d’État) acts as a cassation jurisdiction, giving them supreme jurisdiction in quashing the judgments of inferior courts where those courts misapplied law. Generally, cassation is not based on outright violations of law, but on differing interpretations of law between the courts.


Continue Reading Longchamp reaches the French Supreme Court over copyright infringement

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Augmented Reality (AR) uses technology to overlay real world, physical environments with virtual components like light, sound, video, images or GPS data.  Once seen as a futuristic and ‘gimmicky’ area, AR is growing at a rapid pace and will soon form part of our everyday technology. Microsoft recently unveiled its AR wearable technology, ‘Hololens’ which is geared towards gaming and design and comes in the form of a headset.


Continue Reading Augmented Reality Poses New Legal Challenges