There are several different forms of intellectual property rights available in the United Kingdom, each with its own formality, level of protection, and duration period. It is crucial that any individual who creates a product, or who believes that they would benefit through protecting their intellectual property ensures that they follow the correct procedure… Many individuals will incorrectly assert a claim for copyright infringement. However, copyright infringement is a niche protection right and is only afforded to ‘artistic output’. No formality is required to register this right in the United Kingdom, which is different than U.S. practice.
The number of patents granted to US companies by the European Patent Office (EPO) grew by 46.7% in 2016, the highest increase in ten years, and a new record high. Last year US companies were granted 21,939 patents by the EPO (2015: 14,955).
The tech giants have inked a voluntary code of practice with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Motion Picture Association, following a series of talks overseen by the UK’s copyright watchdog and steered by the department for culture, media, and sport.
The suit was brought by British engineering firm BladeRoom Group (BRG), which in 2015 alleged “BRG spent years developing and refining the prefabricated, modular design and the transportation and construction techniques that Facebook blithely passed off to the world in 2014,” the company said in its federal lawsuit. The company said that Facebook “simply stole the BRG Methodology and passed it off as its own.” BladeRoom notes that Facebook shared some of the ideas for the Swedish data center on the Open Compute Project blog and did not “make any attempt to attribute or credit BRG for any of the elements of the innovative new approach” that Facebook “claimed” it had developed.
BRG says it holds the intellectual property rights and trade secrets to what it termed are “mission-critical modular buildings with complex mechanical and electrical components.” Those buildings, according to the company, include industrial kitchens, hospitals, theaters, clean rooms, and data centers.
At the recent “Law, Borders, and Speech” conference at Stanford, several participants debated the relevance of server location in determining jurisdiction. Some Silicon Valley attorneys at the conference argued that the location of a server should not be just one of the factors in a jurisdictional inquiry, but that it should be the determinative factor for jurisdiction. Support for this position is consistent with the recent Microsoft (Data Stored in Ireland) decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in dicta, suggested that the location of a server containing data should determine jurisdiction over that data (for commentaries on the decision see, for example, here and here). Does it make sense for internet companies (ISPs, content providers, etc.) to take this position?
The position that the location of a server should be determinative in a jurisdictional inquiry makes sense in the context of the companies’ fight against data location requirements – the rules through which countries mandate that companies locate their servers (and data) in the countries’ territory if the companies want to do business there. The USTR has criticized these data location requirements and has included “data localization [sic] requirements” among the “Key Barriers to Digital Trade.” [I favor the phrase “data location” over “data localization” for reasons I explain at the end of this post.]