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This week's IP news round-up

6 June 2005

Welcome to this week's Own It intellectual property news round-up. First of all, some fantastic news for ageing rock-stars as the government looks set to confirm plans to almost double the copyright protection period for UK music. The plans would extend copyright duration from 50 years to 90 years, giving a new lease of commercial life to the music of the Beatles and other British pop giants of the 60s whose copyrights would otherwise soon expire. The thinking behind the move (apart from allowing Paul McCartney to buy another substantial slice of Scotland) is that the extra cash should enable record companies to invest in developing new talent. The change would also bring Britain into line with the US on music copyright duration and should aid the music industry in its battle against piracy. Check out the Times Online for more.

Meanwhile, the long-running global legal dispute between the owners of the American and Czech Budweiser brands over who can use the name “Budweiser” saw the US variant chalk up victory in the Italian courts last week. The judges ruled that US brewing giant Annheuser-Busch had sole of use the name in Italy and cancelled the older Budvar's three “Budweiser” trademarks. More on this story from The Publican.

Changes to the patent feedback process were announced last week by the Patent Office. In the future, feedback on inventions with patents pending can be made via e-mail, direct to the Patent Office. The move is aimed at making the feedback process as straightforward as possible and should cut down on the number of challenges to already granted patents. See the Patent Office website for further information.

Own It news round-up readers with good memories may recall a story from a couple of weeks back about Microsoft facing further heavy anti-competition fines from the European Commission. Well, it looks like Bill Gates' firm has avoided immediate sanctions by responding with their own proposals last week. It remains to be seen whether these are enough to satisfy the Commission's competition regulators, but the proposals should include plans to make Windows a more welcoming platform for other developers. The BBC has more information.

That's the lot for this week. Na zdraví*, as they won't be saying at the Budvar brewery in Prague this week.

*Cheers

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