Intellectual Property News

Author:Mr Charles Alexander
Profession:Minter Ellison



The United States District Court finds that eBay intentionally violated MercExchange's patent

The United States District Court has found that eBay intentionally infringed a patent owned by MercExchange through use of eBay's 'buy it now' feature and ordered eBay to pay $30 million in damages. However, eBay has already released a statement saying that they are planning to appeal the case. MercExchange is alleging, in another motion, that they are owed profits since 2003 related to the 'buy it now' feature, which MercExchange estimates account for about 39% of eBay's revenue.

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University of Edinburgh withdraws appeal over biotechnology patent

The University of Edinburgh has withdrawn an appeal relating to its patent concerning embryonic stem cells. In 2002 the patent was limited to exclude embryonic stem cells, and this decision had subsequently been appealed by the University. As a result of the recent withdrawal of the appeal, the patent remains valid only for a method of genetically modifying stem cells. The University has now exhausted its legal options to widen the scope of the patent. Further information can be found at:

European Patent Office revokes Amazon's gift order patent

The European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked Amazon's software patent for 'gift orders' following an opposition hearing. The EPO found that the patent is not inventive. The patent was for a method allowing people to buy gifts online and have the gifts shipped to the recipient after the recipient confirmed their postal address. The patent, originally granted in 2003, was opposed by Fleurop Interflora Businesses, a flower delivery company, the German Society of Information Sciences and the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure, both non-governmental organisations. The EPO emphasised that their decision on the gift order patent would not necessarily apply to Amazon's controversial one-click patent.

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Court finds no copyright in label, but packaging likely to mislead or deceive consumers

The Federal Court has found that a label comprising a photograph and descriptive text on packaging for photoboxes is neither an 'artistic work' nor a 'literary work'. The appellant, Woodtree Pty Ltd, submitted that the words and the placement of the photograph on the label were elements of an overall design which constituted a 'drawing' and that the label was...

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