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.
Author: Alan Nash
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.
Successful patentee not required to amend patent to reflect adverse findings in respect of certain claims before obtaining relief for infringement
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Following on from his Honour’s decision reported above, JAI Products asserted that, because the only patent claims upon which Damorgold succeeded were dependent on claims that had been found invalid, it was necessary for Damorgold to amend the patent pursuant to section 105 of the Patents Act before it was entitled to an order for injunctive relief. JAI Products plainly wished to argue that the Court should exercise its discretion not to amend the patent because of culpable delay or the like.
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Case note on Agapitos v Habibi  WASC 47.
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Case note on Caffell & Falcon  FamCAFC 34.
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Case noted on Bugatti GmbH v Shine Forever Men Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 171.
Administrators establish power of sale over patent rights held in trust, but not without Court supervision
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. Following on from Neobev Pty Ltd v Bacchus Distilleries Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed)  FCA 4, where the assignee of certain rights to an invention used to manufacture clean skin spirits obtained a declaration in the Federal Court that the registered proprietor of the corresponding patent held that patent on trust for itself and the applicant as co-owners in equity.
Pre-action discovery application difficult to stomach for potential respondent to patent infringement action
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. AstraZeneca is the patentee of a proton pump inhibitor marketed in Australia as NEXIUM as a treatment for gastric reflux and other stomach acid problems. In late 2013, it sought and obtained pre-action discovery of certain documents submitted by Alphapharm to the Therapeutic Goods Administration in relation to a product, NOXICID, that treats similar conditions. By the present application, AstraZeneca sought pre-action discovery of other documents submitted to the TGA and supporting documentation, and delivery of samples of various NOXICID products.
Respondent’s prior product demonstrations of a competing article sufficient to destroy novelty of most of the claims in the patent in suit
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. The applicants (Damorgold) were the owner and exclusive licensee of a patent for a spring assisted blind mechanism, which had a priority date of 25 August 1999. The issue of the licensee’s right to relief was stayed. Damorgold claimed that JAI Products had infringed a suite of claims of the patent and JAI Products asserted the patent was invalid. In the end, Middleton J found two claims infringed and valid.
Swimwear manufacturer’s use of prior copyright works for “inspiration” steps over the line into infringement.
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. This was a claim of copyright infringement brought by Seafolly in respect of three artistic works printed on fabric used to manufacture various of Seafolly’s swimwear and beachwear. It alleged that certain artwork of a similar nature used by the respondent (trading as City Beach) on its products reproduced a substantial part of those works and that reproduction was not the result of independent creation.
Co-authored by Peter Heerey AM QC, Tom Cordiner and Alan Nash. These were two appeals from decisions by delegates of the Registrar to allow registration by Telstra of the mark YELLOW in respect of, among other things, online and print phone directories. Each of the applicants (respectively PDCA and Yellowbook) was unsuccessful in opposing Telstra’s application before the Registrar. Yellowbook also appealed the delegate’s decision to allow Telstra’s opposition to Yellowbook’s own application for YELLOWBOOK for the same goods and services. Murphy J dismissed all three appeals.