Ip Europe, Canadian news, YouTube&ContentID and Hello Kitty's mischiefs

Don't step on the law

Happy Tuesday!

In between dips in the pool and vacation preparations, you can spare a few minutes to read the interesting news we are bringing you this week!

IPEurope launches a new set of recommendations

We don’t know if you have ever heard of IPEurope, a group of European based researches and R&D organisations. Regardless, they recently issued a set of policy recommendations for the next five year EU term (2019-2024). In line with the idea that commitment to IP protection will help create sustainable growth opportunities for SMEs, these are the recommendations (in a nutshell):

  • Further strengthen the European “open standard” model. Standards are those guidelines that enables you to share photos from your Apple phone to your Windows laptop or even better, navigate the Internet. The standard becomes open when it is freely and publicly available (let’s keep it simple).
  • Europe should also provide clear and easy to understand industry licensing guidelines for SMEs and new market players
  • Promote a “competitive global level playing field and international respect for IP rights”. This would include: making sure that a reciprocal level of IP protection is ensured between trade partners; allowing companies from third countries to access public procurement calls (as long as this is reciprocal); support Alternative Dispute Resolution methods in case of IP conflicts.
  • Make sure that Europe provides SMEs with the means to become global competitors. This would include, making sure that when facing infringement, enforcement remains affordable for SMEs; introduce innovation incentives or secure the introduction of the Unified Patent Court.

Canada is still buzzing with IP updates

Last month Canada’s legislative modifications regarding Trademarks enabled Canada to accede to the Madrid protocol (remember the ticking box from last week?), the Singapore Treaty (harmonization of the administrative part of the Trademark registration procedure) and the Nice Agreement (when you register your Trademark, you want to make sure that you classify your goods or services in a class 27! That means the same thing here and everywhere) .

Now Canada amended its legislation regarding Patents enabling it to implement the Patent Law Treaty, making the life of Canadian business and SMEs easier (gains of efficiency in the filling process, harmonization of the administrative procedure and overall makeover of their patent system).

YouTube and the copyright claim system

By now I am pretty sure that all of you have heard of YouTube’s “ContentID” system. This system is not everyone’s cup of tea and that is why the YouTube team is gearing up and trying to make improvements. These are the improvements that you can expect:

  • If you have a YouTube channel you might have experienced the so called the “incidental content strike” (when only a few seconds of music plays because you go past a store or café). The platform is now looking into the matter and will try to improve the system to “strike the right balance between copyright owners and creators”.
  • Copyright owners filing a copyright strike will now be require to clearly identify, in the video, when the Copyright infringement occurs.
  • In doing so, creators will be able to easily verify the veracity of the claim and efficiently edit the specific time frame (by muting or changing the music or eliminating the fragment) if they do not want their video to be taken down or have to deal with loss of revenues.

These measures are going to be more than welcome by YouTube creators and we will keep you updated with further improvements.

Bad Kitty

Owners of well-known brands can sometimes act a little bit weird. When that happens, DG Competition is on the watch and ready to investigate and restore balance. Guess was fined in December 2018 and Nike in March of this year. Know Sanrio, the owner of the “Hello Kitty” Trademark, has been charged for restricting trade between Member States. Prohibiting resellers to sell their products out of their territory (French distributor cannot sell goods with a HK logo to someone in Spain), limiting the languages in which the website is available and carrying out audits and implementing sanctions to encourage compliance with these restrictions. All these behaviours are considered as restrictive of cross border sales and contrary to the rules of fair competition (hence, the fine of 6.2 million euros).

As you can see, although IP rights confer exclusive rights upon their owners, these rights are not absolute. Indeed, they must live in harmony with other rules, such as Competition rules.