Friday, February 14, 2014

The Snowden Effect: a new international right to privacy and new privacy clauses

Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, leaked documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers leading to exposes from 5 June 2013 concerning the NSA’s collection of data using Internet surveillance programs.

The controversy surrounding this leak of information has been notoriously far-reaching, and had many interesting outcomes. Two of them are dealt with here:

a. A Right to Privacy

The UN General Assembly has recently adopted a resolution titled “Right to Privacy in the Digital Era,” which was drafted by Germany and Brazil and unanimously supported via a recorded vote of 148 in favour to 4 against (the countries voting against being Canada, Israel, The United Kingdom, and the United States) and with 27 abstentions.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

@JamesDean:Twitter Tags and the Personality Rights of Dead Celebrities

James Dean isn’t exactly a celebrity that you’d expect to find actively tweeting. CMG Worldwide, which handles the commercial estates of a number of dead celebrities that include Dean's estate, has filed a lawsuit against the social networking giant over the @JamesDean Twitter account to prevent this from occurring.

The issue started over an anonymous individual who registered the @JamesDean username. CMG Worldwide requested Twitter to remove it. Twitter refused to do so.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why Business Name Registrations Matter in Australia

Under section 18 of the Business Names Registration Act 2011 (BNRA), it is an offence to carry on a business under an unregistered business name in Australia.

The business name registration system is quite different to the trade mark registration system. It is a form of consumer protection, enabling consumers to look behind a trading name and see the name of the actual entity or entities using the business name. This is very commonplace in partnerships, but it is also a frequent occurrence for companies which, for whatever reason, choose to use a trading name which is different from the company name. In recent times, management of the business name regime has shifted from the various State governments to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

ASIC have been fairly strict recently in rejecting some business name applications. Some businesses have as a result not taken the business name regime very seriously.

The penalty for failing to register a business name is 30 penalty units. The Crimes Act 1914 states that a penalty unit equals $170. As such, the penalty for contravening section 18 of the BNRA is $5,100.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Queensbury Rules – Boxing and the Queensbury Brand

In 1867 the Queensbury Rules, attributed to the Marquess of Queensbury, were published introducing both rules to boxing, but also the idiom of “Queensbury Rules” in relation to any sort of fair play. On 28 January 2014 in London, Mr. Justice Birss effectively put an end to Sports Direct and Lillywhites’ defence of their use of the ‘Queensbury’ brand, by stopping both retailers from using the brand to sell 16 types of boxing equipment. Mr. Justice Birss ruled that the boxing gloves and training towels concerned were infringing on five UK and Community trade marks (CTMs) for ‘QUEENSBURY’ or “QUEENSBURY RULES”, owned by Boxing Brands Limited (BBL).

the infringing mark
the infringing mark

The dispute started in 2012 when BBL learned that both Sports Direct and Lillywhites were planning to launch a new line of clothing under the Queensbury brand. An interim injunction was sought that same year, followed by a ruling in 2013 upholding that BBL’s Queensbury trade mark would be infringed if the two retailers commenced sales under the Queensbury clothing brand.

The injunction affected all sales. But not all of the products in dispute fell under the scope of protection of the trade marks. Birss J asked both defendants to furnish a list of all the boxing-related equipment that they had or were intending to sell that fall under the Queensbury name. The list included a range of goods that included shield protectors, first aid kits, and head guards. Most of the goods infringed at least one of BBL’s trademarks, but seven products such as corner pads and punch bags were only infringing trademarks that were already invalidated, and so the seven goods were cleared.