Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

A Recap of Dr Patrick Goold’s Book Launch: A Critical Introduction to Intellectual Property Law

By Nouf Ali S AlGazlan, PhD Researcher at The City Law School

Law students are always asked to be ‘more critical.’ But what does this really mean? Patrick Goold’s ‘A Critical Introduction to Intellectual Property Law’ is a good example of a book that enables students to deeply engage with philosophical concepts and refine their critical thinking skills. At the book launch last week, on June 11, 2024, a diverse panel of experts engaged in an interesting discussion on the role of interdisciplinary research in Intellectual Property.

The panel consisted of Lord Justice Richard Arnold (Chair), Professor Estelle Derclaye (Nottingham), Professor Justine Pila (Oxford), Professor Martin Kretchmer (Glasgow), Dr Enrico Bonadio (City), and Dr Patrick Goold (City). The panel first introduced their thoughts on the book and then there was an open discussion. A summary of each panel member’s main points is provided below.

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Metaverse Patents

By Dr Enrico Bonadio (City, University of London) and Akshita Rohatgi (University School of Law and Legal Studies, New Delhi)

Blurring the edges between reality and make-believe, the Metaverse is part of an aspirational Web 3.0, characterised by certain features including an immersive 3D virtual space, interoperability, and real-time operation. While there is no consensus on its definition, certain foundational technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) and XR (extended reality), which includes VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) contribute to the Metaverse.

The Metaverse market is anticipated to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.73% between 2024 and 2030, reaching a projected market volume of US $507.8 billion by the end of the forecast period. Considering that around 390,000 patent applications are pending worldwide concerning AR, VR, and ER, Metaverse-related inventions may dominate the market in the future.

At present, the US and China lead in the number of Metaverse-related patent filings. Companies innovating in the Metaverse seek patent protection for two main types of subject matter: hardware components and software processes. The former typically includes enhanced Central Processor Units for the virtual environment and physical access devices such as ER headsets. In contrast, the latter includes algorithms and networked computer systems like distributed ledgers and blockchain.

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The Curious Case of Computer-Generated Works (CGW) in THJ Systems v Sheridan

By Dr Patrick Goold

A few years ago, I wrote a short article arguing that the section on computer-generated works in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) is either meaningless or lacking justification. At the end of December 2023, the Court of Appeal took a step toward the position I outlined in that article.

As many readers will know, copyright is a property right which subsists, primarily, in ‘original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works’ (s1(1)(a) CDPA). ‘Originality’ in this sense refers to the relationship between the author and the work. In modern EU and UK jurisprudence, a work is original if it is the ‘personal intellectual creation’ of an author and flows form their ‘free and creative choices’. In such cases, copyright vests initially in the author. There is, however, an exception in s9(3) CDPA. If a work is computer-generated – that is, not authored by a human – then copyright ought to be vested in the person who made the ‘arrangements necessary for the creation of work’. In the only case to interpret this provision (Nova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd & Ors [2006] EWHC 24 (Ch)), the programmer of the computer was held to be such a person.

In The Curious Case of Computer-Generated Works under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, I argued the s9(3) provision makes little sense. Broadly, the section could be interpreted in two ways. For simplicity, I will refer to them here as options A and B. Under option A, s9(3) must be interpreted consistently with s1(1)(a), meaning that such works must be original to enjoy copyright. Under option B, s9(3) is an exception to s1(1)(a), meaning that such works do not need to be original to be protected. However, if option A is selected, then the provision is incoherent. In that case, the statute dictates that where there is no human author, then the work should only receive protection if there is an author who supplies the necessary originality (!).  Furthermore, in this eventuality, s9(3) is meaningless because the person supplying the necessary originality would be entitled to claim copyright in the normal manner. In the alternative option B interpretation, then the provision is not meaningless, it is just a bad law. It is no longer meaningless in this scenario because it expands the scope of copyrightable subject matter. It is a bad idea because there has never been a particularly good reason for doing so.

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Warming up to Arctic Shipping?

By Dr Pia Rebelo

Diminishing ice shelves in the Arctic caused by climate change are allowing for new maritime routes in previously unnavigable marine spaces. This coincides with increasing oil and gas exploration plans in the arctic region which will no doubt require maritime services. The shipping industry may also want to capitalise on these newly opened routes as they provide shorter sailing times which can eventually result in fuel savings and less time at sea for seafarers. In a recent article authored by Dr Pia Rebelo and Mr Cyril Uchenna Amaefule published in the Environmental Law Review (ELR), the unique risks and hazards of Arctic shipping are discussed from a marine insurance perspective. While the authors do not necessarily advance an argument for increased economic activity in this ecologically sensitive region, nor is climate change viewed as an economic advantage, they do posit that insurers require better risk management frameworks to safeguard against the multitude of risks that are associated with artic shipping and to address some of the gaps in existing regulatory frameworks.

It is argued in the ELR article that in order for arctic shipping to become commercially practical, marine insurers require improved data and risk management methodologies in order to better calculate the premiums of Hull & Machinery (H&M) and Protection & Indemnity (P&I) insurance policies for ships travelling through the Arctic. Until such risks can be assessed, evaluated, and managed; marine insurers are likely to be cautious gatekeepers of arctic shipping pursuits. To date, insurers have paid out more in ship damage that has occurred in the Arctic than they have collected in premiums, which in itself is problematic. For Hull & Marine (H&M) insurers, bespoke policy plans will need to consider challenges caused by the extreme environment. Navigational concerns include, uncertain ice conditions, rapidly changing weather, extremely low temperatures, extended periods of darkness, communication failures due to high latitude, remoteness, emergency preparedness, and limited access to salvage services (Arctic Council, 2020). All of these factors can result in structural damage due to collisions (both ice and ship-to-ship), loss of propulsion, restrictions on manoeuvrability, and loss of entire ship. From a Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurance standpoint, arctic shipping poses a number of problems with respect to crew safety and occupational hazards, major pollution incidents, wreck removal and salvage, and the impact on third party communities living in remote arctic regions.

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The Commercial Activity Exception to State Immunity, An introduction

By  Katherine Reece Thomas, Associate Professor at the City Law School


My book entitled “The Commercial Activity Exception to State Immunity, An introduction “has recently been published by Edward Elgar. Having practised the law of state immunity (a bit) and taught it a lot over many years, I was delighted when Edward Elgar asked me to write an introduction to the topic for their series ‘Principles of International Law’.

The concept that states should be treated differently to ordinary litigants has grated over the years. Ever since I attended Hazel Fox’s lectures on the then new UK State Immunity Act and subsequently played a small role as a most junior lawyer in the Tin Council litigation in the late 1980s, the question of state accountability in domestic courts has intrigued me. The geopolitical ramifications of the doctrine and the multi-jurisdictional aspect of the relevant litigation have added to the attraction.

If a state descends into the marketplace (as Lord Denning put it in the 1970s) should it not be subjected to the same rules as an ordinary litigant? Does international law require that states be afforded special treatment? Of course, it does because states are sovereign, independent and equal but it is that just? What are the exceptions and how do they operate in practice?

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Climate Change Litigation and International Courts: Navigating Challenges and Imperatives

By Engin Firat

Recent years have seen rapid and widespread climate changes, driven by human activities, notably greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), as highlighted in the latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With temperatures already surpassing 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels and projections indicating a looming 1.5°C increase, urgent action is imperative to mitigate emissions and adapt to inevitable changes. Despite the severity of this environmental threat, political efforts to tackle GHGs remain insufficient. Litigation has emerged as a notable strategy in recent endeavours to address the climate crisis, underscoring the need for more robust action.

Given the gravity of these sobering realities, the recent event organised by International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) and the City Sustainability Society, ‘Climate Change Litigation and International Courts’, held on March 14, 2024, and hosted by the City Law School, assumed a heightened significance. Chaired by Dr Jed Odermatt, Reader at the City Law School, the event brought together legal experts from legal practice and academia, including Mr Paul Clark, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers, Ms Monica Feria-Tinta, Barrister at Twenty Essex, and Dr Yusra Suedi, Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Their aim was to scrutinise the role played by international courts in tackling climate change, thereby providing invaluable insights into the nexus of international law, domestic law, policy, and climate urgency.

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City-EIAG Seminar


A Security Cooperation Pact and Other Ideas for Strengthening the Relationship

City Law School

28 February 2024 at 6pm

The City Law School, City, University of London and the European and International Analysts Group (EIAG), supported by Henderson Chambers, invite you to a seminar to discuss a possible security pact between the UK and the EU and other ideas for strengthening the post-Brexit relationship.

A background paper to the seminar by Sir Julian King, and published by the EIAG, can be found here.

The world has changed since Brexit. Security and defence challenges have become more urgent and more diverse. Russia is waging a relentless war of conquest against Ukraine and there are grounds for uncertainty as to the long-term commitment of the United States to European defence. Add to that, increasing instability in the Middle East, spilling over into the interruption of the economically vital trade-route through Suez, and an increasingly aggressive international stance by the world’s authoritarian powers. Taking all this into account, the security situation in Europe is arguably more perilous than at any time since the end of World War II.

The UK and the EU face the same challenges, and could face them with more confidence together. With Brexit behind us, how should the UK set about re-framing its relationship with its neighbourhood, as one rooted in and justified by the reality of today’s challenges?

The seminar will explore the prospects for developing a new security pact between the UK and the EU, and other practical opportunities there may be for moving towards a closer and more structured relationship in the future.

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Will the UK’s proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism violate WTO law?

Professor David Collins, City Law School

Last week Jeremy Hunt, the UK Chancellor, announced that the UK would pursue implementation of its own Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The EU adopted its own CBAM which is due to go into effect gradually over the next few years – it is currently in an information-gathering stage.

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The Voice and the Right of Indigenous Peoples to Effective Participation

Amal Al-Qasem and Mauro Barelli

On 19th June, a bill that would establish a constitutional entity called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (the Voice) was passed by the Australian Senate after the lower house’s approval a month earlier. The wording of the constitutional change will now be put to the Australian people in a referendum that will take place between October and December. If the referendum is successful, the Voice will be an enduring institution which will allow First Nations to make representations to the Parliament and the Executive on matters that concern them. Continue reading

City Law School Researchers take part in Global Challenges Research Exchange

Eva Pander Maat and Pia Rebelo

Monday April 18th marked the kick-off of the Global Goals Research Exchange between the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen and City Law School at City, University of London. The Exchange presents an excellent opportunity to promote collaborative ties between legal researchers doing work in the topical areas of energy transitions and sustainable development. In the first iteration of the exchange, two City Law School researchers crossed the channel to present and discuss their work.

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