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The Structure of Intellectual Property Law

The Structure of Intellectual Property Law

Can One Size Fit All?

ATRIP Intellectual Property series

Edited by Annette Kur and Vytautas Mizaras

This well-researched and highly topical book analyses whether the ever-increasing degree of sophistication in intellectual property law necessarily leads to fragmentation and inconsistency, or whether the common principles informing the system are sustainable enough to offer a solid and resilient framework for legal development.

Chapter 8: Overprotection and Protection Overlaps in Intellectual Property Law – the Need for Horizontal Fair Use Defences

Martin Senftleben

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


Martin Senftleben* 1. INTRODUCTION During recent decades, intellectual property (IP) protection has been expanded continuously.1 New technologies have been found to be eligible for patent protection.2 New types of marks have been recognized in trademark law.3 Copyright law is no longer confined to the cultural domain.4 In parallel, the exclusive rights of IP owners have been broad- * Ph.D.; Professor of Intellectual Property, VU University Amsterdam; Senior Consultant, Bird & Bird, The Hague. 1 For an early critical assessment of this broader trend, see Spoor, J.H. (1990), De gestage groei van merk, werk en uitvinding, Zwolle: Tjeenk Willink. 2 This tendency has been particularly strong in US patent law. For instance, see US Supreme Court, 447 US 303 (1980), Diamond v Chakrabarty, with regard to biotechnology. Cf. Maier, G.J. and Mattson, R. C. (2001), ‘State Street Bank ist kein Ausreißer: Die Geschichte der Softwarepatentierung im US-amerikanischen Recht’, GRUR Int., p. 677; Merges, R.P. (1999), ‘As Many as Six Impossible Patents before Breakfast: Property Rights for Business Concepts and Patent System Reform’, Berkeley Technology Law Journal 14, pp. 577, 587. As to current, more cautious approaches in US patent law, see US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 545 F.3d 943, 88 USPQ.2d 1385 (Fed. Cir. 2008), in Bernard L. Bilski and Rand A. Warsaw. 3 Cf. Gilson, J. and Gilson, A. (2005), ‘LaLonde, Cinnamon Buns, Marching Ducks and Cherry-Scented Racecar Exhaust: Protecting Nontraditional Trademarks’, Trade Mark Reporter 95, p. 773; Fezer, K.-H. (2005), ‘Eine Theorie der variablen Marke – Zum Markenschutz...

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