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Showing posts from February, 2013

Australian Federal Court Limits Patentability

A recent Australian Federal Court decision limits the scope of patent protection for business methods implemented by computer.  The invention in question related to securities investing and, more specifically, to construction and use of passive portfolios and indexes.

The court denied patentability, stating:

"The implementation of the method of the claimed invention by means of a computer, at the level articulated in claim 1, is no more than the modern equivalent of writing down the index on pieces of paper. On the face of the Specification, there is no patentable invention in the fact that the claimed method is implemented by means of a computer. The Specification asserts a patentable invention, not in the use of the computer, but in the particular series of steps that give rise to the generation of the index. Those steps could readily have been carried out manually. The aspect of computer implementation is nothing more than the use of a computer for a purpose for which it is sui…

Google Australia does not control the Google search engine

Google Australia Pty Ltd does not like being sued in Australia.  In a recent Australian lawsuit, Google said:

Google Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google International LLC and Google Inc is the ultimate holding company Google Australia is not authorised to, and has no ability to, control or direct the conduct of Google Inc and is not responsible for the day-to-day operations of Google Inc Google Inc owns and operates the domains google.com.au and google.com. The search engines at the domains mentioned are exclusively provided by, operated by, and controlled by Google Inc Google Australia does not have any ability to control or direct action in respect of blocking URLs from google.com.au
The Australian court found: "There is no reasonable prospect of Mr Rana proving that Google Australia owns the domains in question, or that it has the ability to control or direct the conduct of Google Inc."  Thus, the claims against Google Australia were dismissed.

The Court also…

IP Theft

"Our message is quite clear: the protection of intellectual property and trade secrets is critical to all intellectual property rights holders, whether they be from the United States or whether they be from Chinese companies or other companies around the world,'' Robert Hormats, the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, said.

Though China is regarded as the most aggressive actor, Mr Hormats said other countries are guilty as well. He cited Russia and India as two countries active in the theft of intellectual property.

See SMH

Social Networks and Right of Publicity

From a Kenyon & Kenyon newsletter looking at legal trends for 2013:

An important “Right of Publicity” issue for 2013 is the use by social networks of their members' names and/or likenesses in advertising. Many social networks have broad Terms of Service which purport to allow them to exploit any content that a member posts on the networks' websites. Social networks take the position that these service terms permit them to use aspects of their members’ identities in advertisements appearing within the social networks. As social networks grow and compete for advertiser dollars, they will naturally want to allow advertisers to create the most effective ads possible. Studies have shown the persuasive potential of an online connection's recommendations (due to the apparent lack of bias), and therefore many advertisers are likely to request advertising that uses the identities of a social network's users.

New Australian Patent Law Book

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A new Kindle Book: Patent Law for Australian Inventors
Also available in Apple iBook store.


Internet Simulcasting Decision

The Australian Federal Court recently decided a lawsuit involving radio stations simulcasting their broadcasts via the Internet.

"A broadcasting service is thedelivery, in a particular manner, of a radio program, consisting of matter intended to entertain, educate or inform. Thus the delivery of the radio program by transmission from a terrestrial transmitter is a different broadcasting service from the delivery of the same radio program using the internet."

See Decision Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Limited v Commercial Radio Australia Limited [2013] FCAFC 11
See also Australian Copyright Council alert

CLS Bank v Alice case to be heard en banc

From a Kenyon & Kenyon newsletter:

Patent-eligibility of inventions implemented by computers: CLS Bank v. Alice Corp
The district court had held that the invention, which related to methods and systems for exchanging financial obligations between parties, was an abstract idea—ineligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. § 101. A Federal Circuit panel disagreed, holding that the claimed invention complies with § 101 of the patent code. En banc, the Federal Circuit will address two issues: I. What test should the court adopt to determine whether a computer implemented invention is a patent ineligible “abstract idea;” and when, if ever, does the presence of a computer in a claim lend patent eligibility to an otherwise patent-ineligible idea? II. In assessing patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 of a computer implemented invention, should it matter whether the invention is claimed as a method, system, or storage medium; and should such claims at times be considered equivalent f…

Google not responsible for contents of advertisements

The High Court of Australia decided today that Google is not responsible for the content of advertisements placed via its AdWords program.

A key reason was the following at [69]:
“That the display of sponsored links (together with organic search results) can be described as Google's response to a user's request for information does not render Google the maker, author, creator or originator of the information in a sponsored link. The technology which lies behind the display of a sponsored link merely assembles information provided by others for the purpose of displaying advertisements directed to users of the Google search engine in their capacity as consumers of products and services. In this sense, Google is not relevantly different from other intermediaries, such as newspaper publishers (whether in print or online) or broadcasters (whether radio, television or online), who publish, display or broadcast the advertisements of others.”
See:
Court Decision, Google Inc …

Privacy for Mobile Apps

From The New York Times:
F.T.C. Suggests Guidelines on Privacy for Mobile Apps The Federal Trade Commission said the mobile industry should include a do-not-track feature in software and apps and take other steps to safeguard personal information. http://nyti.ms/X0xWcG

Too Many Lawyers

Law Schools’ Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut

Applications are headed for a 30-year low, reflecting increased concern over soaring tuition, crushing student debt and diminishing prospects of lucrative employment upon graduation.

http://nyti.ms/14xHPnF