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Patents, piracy and passing off make this week’s Own It intellectual property news round-up an unusually onomatopoeic one.

11 July 2005

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

Of significance to software developers (and pretty much anyone who uses a computer) was the decision last week by the European Parliament to vote against the much disputed and amended Computer Implemented Inventions Directive. The directive would controversially have allowed the patenting of computer software, but also contained much straightforwardly useful pan-European patent reform. The European Commission (the original author of the bill) is now unlikely to re-introduce an amended version of the directive. The BBC has more.

An interesting report came to Own It’s attention recently regarding global levels of music copyright infringement. The report, which focuses on CD piracy rather than illegal downloading, estimates that a third of all music discs sold worldwide in 2004 were pirated. This figure includes 31 countries where pirate CD sales exceed those of legal discs. Though Britain has one of the better records in this area, pirate CD sales are on the increase here, leaping 37% in the last year alone. Read the full report here.

While we’re on the subject of piracy, the UK government last week announced a host of measures to combat counterfeiting and piracy across all sectors in the UK. In total such piracy is estimated to cost the UK a whopping £4.5 billion a year. The measures include a database of persistent offenders, better training for trading standards officers and greater collaboration between national and international government agencies. Go to the Patent Office website for the full press release and links to related reports and documents.

Lastly, an IP Kat inspired story regarding a rather bizarre passing off claim. The case concerns Dorset funeral director Richard Adlem, who has traded under his own name for 40 years.  In 1993 Mr Adlem sold a stake in his business to a partner, who then sold it on to rival firm Newman’s. Not longer after, Newman’s sought to prevent Mr Adlem from trading under his own name, claiming they had acquired it when they bought out his former partner. Now Mr Adlem is being prevented from using his name even to answer the phone and faces costs of over £200,000 from Newman’s lawyers after a Court of Appeal judgement went against him. Mr Adlem applied to the House of Lords to appeal this judgement last week. The Daily Telegraph has the full story.

Until next week.

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