Spring Public Lectures Series 2018

Our annual public lectures series on topical issues of intellectual property law and policy is open to anyone to attend, but space is limited. Please email Terry Mitchell to reserve a place on one or all of the lectures. The events will take place at the Executive Business Centre, close to Bournemouth train station.


Martin Husovec (Tilburg University) “Can User Creativity Survive Automated Copyright Enforcement in Europe?”

Thursday 8 February, 18:00, Room EB306

The European Union is on the verge of changing one of the building blocks of its digital economy. Its copyright reform attempts to redefine the established legal framework that governs decentralized creativity online. Online platforms hosting pictures, videos or software might soon be under a new obligation to automate their enforcement processes in a way that prevent re-appearance of previously notified content. Shall this policy – often dubbed ‘notice and staydown’ – be eventually adopted in the Union, it will likely trigger number of direct and indirect changes, both in Europe and beyond its borders. What are those changes? Who will benefit? And what is the future of creativity in the online world full of automated enforcement? These are the questions that the talk will try to answer by looking beyond the ongoing legislative process directly into the future that we might face in the coming years.

Martin Husovec is Assistant Professor and faculty member of the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT), Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Gustavo Ghidini (University of Milan) “Shape trade-marks and competition”

Thursday 8 March, 18:00, Room EB306

The exercise of trademark rights relating to shapes may have a negative impact on competition in relevant markets. The materialization of this impact, and hence the conflict with the essentially pro-competitive vocation of a trademark’s fundamental distinctive function, especially  relates to three-dimensional shapes, in particular those “intrinsic” to  the finished product itself, or the form of its packaging when the product does not or cannot have a three-dimensional shape, like in the case of liquids.

The Lecture addresses the competition-related issues arising from the registrability of three-dimensional shapes of industrial products, in light of the European legal framework and the systemic dystopias and over-protectionist consequences stemming from the coexistence of trademark and registered design protection. It presents an interpretative solution capable of overcoming such impasse in a pro-competitive perspective.

Professor Ghidini is Chair of Intellectual Property and Competition Law at the University of Milan, and professor of IP and Competition at LUISS University, Rome, where he is also the founder and Director of the Osservatorio di Proprietà intellettuale Concorrenza e Comunicazioni. He is Past President (2005-2007) of ATRIP.

Matt Fisher (UCL) “Cast Adrift on a Sea of Uncertainty?  Equivalency within Patent Law”

Thursday 19 April, 18:00, Room EB206

The UK Supreme Court’s decision in Actavis v Eli Lilly [2017] UKSC 48 represents a sea change in the determination of patent scope in the UK.  In order to align more fully with the Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69 EPC (European Patent Convention), the Court considered that the extant approach to claim construction needed to change.  Accordingly, the single-stage “purposive” assessment that had been the mainstay of the English courts’ methodology of determining patent scope for the previous 35 years was swept away.  Distinctions have therefore now been drawn between “construction” and “scope”, and explicit recourse to a doctrine of equivalents – a doctrine much derided under the previous regime – has (finally) been embraced.  This lecture will examine the effects of the decision and the broader notion of equivalency within patent law.  In doing so, it aims to address the benefits and disadvantages of the Supreme Court’s approach and to assess the likely challenges that such a shift in approach will bring.

Matt Fisher is Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Laws of University College London.


Past public lectures series