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This week's IP news round-up

4 May 2005

Hello again and welcome to this week’s Own It intellectual property round-up. Hope you had a suitably relaxing bank holiday weekend.

We kick off this week with the story that has everybody talking – at least everyone who hates actual news. Yes, the Beckhams and their nanny. Last week, the High Court ruled that a confidentiality agreement between the high profile couple and their former nanny could be overruled as details of their private life were in the public interest. According the Times, the failure of the confidentiality clause was due to their ‘stage-managed image of being the perfect celebrity couple’.

The case is sure to worry other celebrities who rely on similar agreements to keep their private details, er, private. But they shouldn’t be too alarmed: five years ago Cherie Blair used a similar confidentiality agreement to stop her nanny publishing a book about the Blairs while Lady Archer successfully sued her personal assistant for selling gossip to a newspaper.

Now from today’s hottest story to one of IP’s longest running disputes. At the end of last week Marvel Comics finally settled their six year dispute over unpaid film royalties with Spiderman creator, Stan Lee. The company now plans to make its own films. Previously Marvel licensed its intellectual property including Spiderman and Men In Black to Paramount Studios in return for royalty payments. The company’s new strategy will see Paramount handling marketing and distribution of the films but Marvel doing their own production. Marvellous.

And finally, the Bush administration has warned China that it must do more to clamp down on ‘rampant software piracy’. ‘Responding to America’s yawning trade deficit… the administration said it was putting China and 13 other nations on a priority watch list, which subjects the countries to special reviews of their efforts to deal with the theft of U.S. copyrighted material such as movies, music and computer software.’, according to the Associated Press. ‘By some estimates, 90 percent of the movies, music and computer programs sold in China are pirated products. U.S. industry has estimated it is losing between $200 billion and $250 billion annually because of copyright piracy around the world, an enormous sum but still well below the record $666 billion current account trade deficit the country recorded in 2004. Besides China, the others put on the priority watch list were Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela.’

Gosh, what a boring week. Have a good one.

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