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Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) intend to serve legal proceedings on the Government in the coming days, claiming that the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) has acted in breach of EU law by failing to ensure that the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) exercises her role independently. The High Court is to be asked to

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In Barbulescu v Romania, a case concerning employees’ right to privacy, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held that an employer could monitor and access personal messages sent by an employee during work hours from his Yahoo Messenger account. The decision, however, is not a precedent for unrestricted monitoring by employers of personal messages sent by employees during office hours.


Continue Reading ECHR rules employer can monitor personal messages sent by employee

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The Government have published a draft Consumer Rights Bill (the "Bill") which aims to reform Irish consumer law and streamline current statutory provisions in this area. The Bill is focused on transactions between traders and consumers. Though the Bill covers wide remit of consumer rights in relation to the supply of goods and services, it is interesting to note that it specifically addresses consumer rights in respect of digital content, extending the existing provisions as introduced pursuant to the European Consumer Rights Directive of 2011.


Continue Reading Government consults on new Consumer Rights Law covering Digital Content

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New Balance has kicked off a trademark action against Nike-owned Converse concerning its PF Flyers brand and the Converse trademark on Chuck Taylors. New Balance is requesting that the Federal Court in NY cancel the Converse trademark registration, which was obtained in 2013, so that they may continue selling their version of the shoe. New Balance has set out in court filed papers that the products are different enough and that consumers are unlikely to confuse the two. 

Last October saw Converse file a trademark action against 31 companies, notably not including New Balance, who they accused of infringing their trademark by producing knock-offs of their famous Chuck Taylor designed shoe. Should Converse be successful in this action New Balance has indicated their concern as to how such a ruling would be enforced.


Continue Reading New Balance trademark action against Converse

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Last week saw the European Commission adopting a revised regime in respect of technology transfer agreements. The new agreements will enable companies to better licence the use of patents, know-how or software held by another company for the production of goods and services. The new Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation (TTBER) and accompanying Technology Transfer Guidelines (Guidelines) will enter into force on 1 May 2014.

The TTBER and Guidelines will create a safe harbour for licensing agreements seeking to strengthen incentives for research, innovation and stimulate competition. 


Continue Reading Patent Pools making a splash

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The UK Court of Appeal has issued a significant judgment on the scope of protection afforded by Registered Community Designs (RCDs) in Magmatic Ltd v PMS International Ltd. The case concerned a claim of infringement brought by Magmatic Ltd (Magmatic), creator of the popular children’s ride-on suitcase range, Trunki, against PMS International Ltd (PMS), which manufactured a discount variant of ride-on suitcases inspired by the Trunki range. The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge, Justice Arnold, had erred in principle by disregarding surface decoration and colour contrast in his global assessment of the similarities between the two products.


Continue Reading UK Court of Appeal Rules on Scope of Registered Community Design Rights

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The European Court of Human Rights, in Defli AS v Estonia, has upheld unanimously a finding of liability against an Internet news portal regarding offensive comments that were posted online by one of its readers. The Court held that making Defli AS liable for the comments was a justified and proportionate interference with its right to freedom of expression and thta there was no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression)

The facts of the case date back to 2006, when Delfi AS, one of Estonia’s largest internet news sites published an article relating to a ferry company and its decision to change some of its routes to certain islands. This change subsequently damaged ice roads considered to be a cheaper alternative to the ferry services. This led to an outcry of abusive and potentially defamatory online comments about the owner of the ferry company underneath the article.


Continue Reading Website found liable for online commentary

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The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation have published a Consultation Paper on the implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) (the Directive). The Directive must be transposed into national law by EU Member States by 13 December 2013 and must be applied in Member States from 13 June 2014.

The Directive repeals and replaces the current Directive on Contracts Negotiated Away from Business Premises (85/577/EEC) and the Distance Selling Directive (97/7/EC). The Directive on Certain Aspects of the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees (1999/44/EC), and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive (93/13/EEC), are amended but will remain in force.


Continue Reading Consultation on Consumer Rights Directive