Category: IP and Trade Practices

Tobacco Plain Packaging: WTO dispute panel appointed

Five countries have brought WTO Complaints against Australia’s plain packaging rules for tobacco products. On 25 April 2014, the Dispute Settlement Body under the Dispute Settlement Understanding established panels to determine the complaints brought by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Ukraine, Honduras and Indonesia. On 5 May, the Director-General formally announced the 3 member Panel who will hear the disputes: Mr Alexander Erwin (chair); Prof. Francois Dessemontet; and Dame Billie Miller.

Protecting major sporting events from ambush marketing

Did you know there was a Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Bill 2014? It was introduced into Parliament on 26 March 2014. It is designed to provide protections for certain indicia associated with the upcoming: Asian Football Championships to be held in Australia in 2015; the ICC World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015; and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, against ‘ambush marketing’.

Software patents

Last week, 31 March, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument on the question whether Alice Corporation can patent its software system for a method of payment: Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, Supreme Court Docket No 13-298 (2014). Several patents and claims are in issue, all relating to a computerized trading platform used for conducting financial transactions in which a third party settles obligations between a first and a second party so as to eliminate “counterparty” or “settlement” risk. The issue is whether what Alice Corporation is claiming is even patent-eligible subject matter (let alone knew or inventive). In Australia, the corresponding question is whether what is claimed is “a manner of manufacture”.