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.


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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

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The Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, spoke at the Society for Computers and Law’s ‘The Evolution and Reform of Data Protection’ event this morning. The Commissioner gave an overview of the activities of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) in 2014 and set out the aims of the ODPC for the year ahead.


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As part of Budget 2015, the Minister for Finance announced his intention to introduce a more competitive tax regime for income generated from intellectual property (IP) known as the Knowledge Development Box. The new regime is due to come into force next year (see our earlier blog entitled ‘Knowledge Box- Ireland’s new IP Tax Incentive’ ).


Continue Reading Knowledge Development Box – Launch of Public Consultation Process -“Ireland will play fair, as it has always done, and play to win.” – Minister Noonan

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Audit provisions are a common feature of a wide range of IP and technology agreements. They can be seen by those seeking the audit right as a practical way to monitor key aspects of a commercial deal. Security standards being applied to data, accuracy of billing, compliance with licence restrictions or, in some cases, general

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As the world still tries to come to grasps with the Ebola crisis in Africa, it is thought that the greatest risk of contracting the deadly virus in Europe is for healthcare workers. An Irish tech start-up company called Medical eGuides has launched an app which will provide medical staff with critical information on how to effectively and competently treat Ebola-infected patients in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.


Continue Reading An Irish Tech Company’s Role in Combatting Ebola

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In the Irish Government Budget for the forthcoming year published on 14 October, it was announced that the so called ‘Double Irish’ tax mechanism was being phased out. One of the mechanisms that is being considered to replace the ‘Double Irish’ is a new ‘Knowledge Box’ scheme. This scheme would be similar to the recently introduced Patent Box in the United Kingdom and would be of significant benefit to intellectual property holders in Ireland and those seeking to establish themselves in Ireland. Commentators suggest the Knowledge Box scheme will include a tax rate likely to be at least as low as 6.25 per cent and perhaps lower on intellectual property assets managed in the scheme. A 6.25 per cent tax rate would be half the standard Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5 per cent. The exact scope and conditions for qualifying for the scheme have yet to be determined.


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