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Turning off Wimbledon on the telly, Own It manages to serve up another smashing IP news round-up.

27 June 2005

Welcome to this week's Own It intellectual property news round up.

What feels like the 863rd installment of the OK! v Hello! court case made the news on Friday after lawyers acting for OK! confirmed they are to appeal a £2 million ruling against the magazine.

You may remember that OK! sued Hello! after the latter published spoiler photos of the Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones wedding. After succeeding in its claim for breach of commercial confidence, OK! was awarded damages of £1 million and £1 million in costs. This was overturned last month in the Court of Appeal, which ordered OK! pay back all £2 million to Hello! Now OK! are to appeal this and that legal bill (already estimated at £4 million) just keeps getting bigger. Get the whole story from the BBC.

Last week's big IP noise concerned the new EU patents directive after recommendations by the European Parliament paved the way to allowing the patenting of computer software. At present developers in the EU have to rely on copyright to protect their programs, but a crucial vote in the European Parliament next month may extend the more restrictive patents system to software. The move, which would bring EU law in line with US practice, has drawn heavy criticism from smaller developers. Read a good balanced view from Channel Register.

The swell of menacing letters for illegal music file-sharers has continued to grow in the past month, with the British Phonographic Industry sending out another round of demands to the worst offenders. The big sums involved (usually £2,500) do serve to grab the headlines and discourage illegal downloaders, but Own It can't help feeling a little sorry for the parents who have to foot the bill for their offspring's download habit. Read more in The Guardian.

Finally, a seedy but diverting trademark dispute is underway in Nevada over the name of a famous brothel. A neighbour is claiming the trademark “Mustang Ranch”, contending the government abandoned it after seizing the original “Mustang Ranch” brothel. The new owner of “Mustang Ranch” argues all brothel property  (including IP rights) passed to the government and then to him. Until the case is decided, neither party can use the name in relation to houses of ill repute. The Nevada Sun has further information and thanks to IP Kat for the tip-off.

See you next week.

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