Case note written by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash. In Mastronardi Produce Ltd v Registrar of Trade Marks  FCA 1021 (19 September 2014) Justice Gordon has overturned a decision of the Registrar to reject the mark ZIMA in respect of tomatoes.
Category: IP and Trade Practices
Written by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash. In Vertical Leisure Limited & Anor v Skyrunner Pty Ltd & Anor  FCCA 2033 (5 September 2014), the Federal Circuit Court has extended the record by awarding $300k in additional damages for infringement of Vertical Leisure’s X-POLE mark registered for pole-dancing poles. Vertical Leisure is the Australian and international market leader in respect of such products.
Case note by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash – Australian entities that pay royalties to foreign-based licensors are required to withhold and remit to the Australian Tax Office a portion of that royalty, except to the extent an international tax agreement between Australia and the relevant country provides otherwise.
Case note by Peter Heerey AM, QC, Tom Cordiner & Alan Nash: correspondents for South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia
Stylis and Commissioner of Patents  AATA 796 28 October 2014
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has refused an application to review a particular decision of the Commissioner of Patents on the basis that the AAT lacks jurisdiction to review it.
Bennett, Greenwood and Middleton JJ unanimously upheld the primary judge’s decision in Miles v Commissioner of Patents  FCA 1017, a case involving a lapsing patent application.
Alphapharm submitted that, although AstraZeneca had succeeded, it had no need to litigate at all because Alphapharm had made it clear that it would desist from conduct of the kind that was alleged to be in infringement of patents, until such time as the result of the appeal in Ranbaxy was known. Nevertheless AstraZeneca commenced proceedings against Alphapharm. AstraZeneca submitted that not only was it entitled to its costs in the normal course, but also that those costs should be taxed on the special basis for which section 19(2) of the Patents Act provides.
Lisica v Commissioner of Patents  FCA 433 7 May 2014 – On appeal to the Court, the applicant did not seek to lead any expert evidence, which might have explained the area of the useful arts to which his invention would make a contribution or at least assist in understanding the language of the specification and the claims. Justice Jessup concluded that in those circumstances, the claim was neither clear nor succinct as required by s 40(3) of the Act: “As a statement marking out the area of the public monopoly which the applicant seeks, the claim falls well short of the standard of clarity required.” His Honour echoed the view expressed by the delegate that the applicant’s attempt to draft the specification and claims without professional assistance, had not helped him.
Telstra and, more recently, Sensis have published the well known Yellow Pages phone directories since 1975, and also used the “Walking Fingers” logo since shortly after that date. The applicants’ more recent online directories and mobile applications similarly have featured a yellow theme. Yellow has been a strong theme in the applicants’ marketing from an early date. Telstra and Sensis brought claims of misleading and deceptive conduct and passing off against three publishers of print and online phone directories (the PDC respondents). The relevant publications had yellow covers and yellow pages in the case of the print publications, and yellow icons, background and other visual elements in the case of online directories and mobile applications.
Late last year, the Federal Court ordered that the fourth respondent, Bob Jane, and the companies he controlled, be restrained from trading as a business under any name that is or includes the word JANE. The corporate respondents were also ordered to forthwith change their names, transfer certain domain names and deliver up promotional material to Bob Jane Corporation. Early this year, Bob Jane Corporation brought charges of contempt of court against each of Bob Jane and various of the corporate respondents he controlled for failure to comply with those orders. Bob Jane Corporation sought a declaration of guilt and imposition of a fine in relation to each alleged contempt.
The first applicant, Damorgold, successfully established that JAI Products had infringed the patent in suit. A residual issue left for later determination was whether the second applicant, Vertilux, was an exclusive licensee of the patent and therefore also entitled to have initiated proceedings pursuant to section 120 of the Patents Act 1990. A written licence was in place between Damorgold and Vertilux that imparted on Vertilux an exclusive licence to exploit the patent, and also purported to record the terms of an oral licence between the parties said to have been in place at least since the start of 2006. Under the licence, Vertilux was entitled to grant sublicences, with Damorgold’s written consent (although Damorgold could waive that requirement).
This was an appeal from the ultimate disposition at first instance of Deckers’ successful copyright and trade mark infringement claims against various respondents in respect of their use of various UGG marks and the manufacture and sale of counterfeit UGG boots.
The Commonwealth Government released an Online Copyright Infringement discussion paper (pdf) on 30 July 2014. Responses are required by 1 September 2014. The problem the discussion paper identifies is the high level of usage of the Internet by Australians to infringe copyright by downloading illegally movies, recorded music and the like and a perceived need, following the High Court’s decision in Village Roadshow v iiNet, to compel ISPs to negotiate with copyright owners about the introduction of systems such as ‘Notice and Takedown (and Put back)’ procedures.
The Halal Certification Authority has $10 in nominal damages for trade mark infringement against each of Scadilone, White Heaven and Quality Kebabs, but $91,015 additional damages against Quality Kebabs.
The Privacy Commissioner has recently determined that AeroCare Pty Ltd (Aerocare) breached the privacy of a blind airline passenger when asking a range of questions to the passenger regarding his medical condition, in front of the complainant’s sighted guide and various passengers in the departure lounge at the Sunshine Coast airport.