Category Archives: Intellectual property

Defendant imprisoned for failing to hand over domain name and Facebook page

The High Court has sentenced a defendant to four months in prison for wilfully failing to comply with an order to transfer control of an internet domain name and Facebook page to the claimant.

The defendant had not only failed to take the steps necessary to pass control to the claimant, but had also removed the claimant’s new website from the domain and replaced it with his own website (accessible from the Facebook page) which was similar to that of the claimant and offered similar products with similar get-up.

Database right infringement

The High Court has found 77m (a geospatial address dataset creator) liable for database right infringement.

77m had created a dataset of the geospatial co-ordinates of all residential and non-residential addresses in Great Britain, for which it wished to sell access by combining large amounts of data from various datasets, including data derived from Ordnance Survey (OS). 77m did not get the data from OS directly but got it from other sources and there were complicated licences in place between the parties and the various sources.

The court said that it was irrelevant that 77m had extracted some of the data from a third party dataset rather than the OS database and that it was also irrelevant that it had transferred data only temporarily to a computer and then discarded it. 

Popping the champagne bubbles!

The IP Enterprise Court has decided that certain sales of clothing branded with the registered trade mark “VEUVE CLICQUOT” were not covered by the scope of consents from the trade mark owners to the use of the marks.

The sales by the defendants therefore amounted to trade mark infringement and passing off. There were a number of defendants and the court said they were all liable.

The court awarded the trade mark owners £125,000 in damages and granted an injunction to prevent further infringement and passing off.

This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring that your licences to use intellectual property are wide enough for the needs of your business, and the necessity to stay within the remits of those licences.

If you need any advice on such issues, please email

Imprisonment for online copyright infringement

Offences of online copyright infringement are currently punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment, whereas the maximum custodial sentence for infringement in respect of physical goods is ten years.

In July 2015 the government opened a consultation asking whether the maximum custodial sentence available for online and offline copyright infringement of equal seriousness should be brought into line at ten years?

The government has just published the responses to the consultation. It received 1,032 responses, with an overwhelming 1,011 opposing the proposal and only 21 supporting. The government states that it is now carefully considering the best way forward.

Patents and plant breeders’ rights

The European Parliament (EP) has expressed its concern that recent decisions involving tomatoes and broccoli could lead to more patents being granted in respect of natural traits introduced into new varieties of plants by means of essentially biological processes such as crossing and selection and calls on the European Commission, among other things, to:

  • ensure legal clarity regarding the prohibition of the patentability of products obtained from essentially biological processes and clarify that breeding with biological material falling under the scope of a patent is permitted;
  • ensure that the EU will safeguard guaranteed access to, and use of, material obtained from essentially biological processes for plant breeding, in order, where applicable, not to interfere with practices guaranteeing breeders’ exemption; and
  • pursue the exclusion from patentability of essentially biological processes.