UK Supreme Court on enforcement of foreign IP

Earlier today, UK’s highest court held in Lucasfilm Ltd v Ainsworth that the English courts can decide the issue of infringement of U.S. copyright where there is jurisdiction over the defendant.

In Lucasfilm Ltd & Ors v Ainsworth & Anor [2011] UKSC 39 the UK Supreme Court held that:

[106] We have come to the firm conclusion that, in the case of a claim for infringement of copyright of the present kind, the claim is one over which the English court has jurisdiction, provided that there is a basis for in personam jurisdiction over the defendant, or, to put it differently, the claim is justiciable. …

[107] There is no doubt that the modern trend is in favour of the enforcement of foreign intellectual property rights.

The Court also held that there was no copyright in the Stormtrooper helmets as ‘sculptures’ assertable in the U.K. against the original designer of the helmets, who was selling replicas (See the Court’s press statement)

Hogan Lovells has commentary on the decision and its potential impact on other areas of IP. The Guardian newspaper also has commentary on the decision.