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This week's IP news round-up

22 March 2005

Just another manic IP Monday – and time for this week’s intellectual property news round-up.

We begin with the bizarre tale of Charles, Camilla and the commemorative stamps. According to the Mirror, ‘Prince Charles has been forced to fork out to one of his kitchen staff after she took the engagement photo of him and Camilla that is being printed on millions of stamps… Royal chef Carolyn Robb, 41, was stunned when she discovered her snap was to be reproduced and beamed around the world.’

The problem started when Robb was asked by the Prince to take a picture of him and his bride-to-be while they were staying in Birkhall, Scotland. She duly obliged using her digital camera and later gave the Prince a disc containing the image. Next thing she knew the photo was being touted as an ‘official engagement photo’ and Robb was being asked to sign away all of the IP rights to the images. Bravely, she refused forcing the Prince to pay a ‘modest sum’ (believed to be £5000) to settle the row. Another victory for intellectual property rights!

And so to America – and France – where French news service Agence France Press are suing Google for using their text and images on Google News. According to the IPKitten, ‘The French service charges a subscription fee for access to its services and is claiming copyright infringement in the Columbia District Court. Google has said that it gives publishers the opportunity to opt out of Google News, but most choose not to.’ Fair enough – but with Google News’ popularity increasing by the day it does seem a little like AFP is cutting off its news to spite its face.

And finally to Sweden where, according to the Associated Press,‘Ikea has been ordered to pay 300,000 kronor ($44,000) in damages to American company Mag Instrument Inc. for trademark infringement.’ The fine was imposed after the Helsingborg District Court ruled that a torch sold in Ikea stores was a little bit too similar to Mag Instrument’s popular Mini Maglite for their tastes. Ikea was also ordered to pay 4 million kronor ($585,000) in legal costs. Youch.

Have a good week!

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