World Intellectual Property Organization

In the News

March 2005

Pirates losing ground to digital music sales

The 2005 Digital Music Report, published in January by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), brought cheering statistics for the music industry, which had seen CD sales fall in recent years as it struggled against digital piracy of epic proportions:

  • legal, paid-for music downloads increased more than tenfold in US and Europe to over 200 million tracks;
  • repertoire of legal services doubled to 1 million tracks;
  • analyst Jupiter estimated that the digital music market was worth US$330 million in 2004 (about 1.5 percent of record company revenues); with some analysts predicting that digital sales could reach 25 percent of revenues within five years;
  • infringing music files on Peer to Peer (P2P) networks worldwide dropped by an estimated 240 million since April 2003.

Innovative business models such as Apple Computer’s iPod and iTunes digital Music Store helped to buck the trend, turning the threat into an opportunity. The number of online services selling music legally quadrupled in 2004 to more than 230 worldwide, offering consumers ever wider choice. Global revenue from (mobile phone) ring tones sales exceeded US$3 billion by the end of the year, offering a rapidly expanding new market for music licensing. Meanwhile, the 7,000 legal actions to date brought by record companies against bulk uploaders in Europe and the United States of America drove up consumer awareness of the potential penalties for piracy.

The United Kingdom has the most extensive legal digital market in Europe. Consumer awareness is relatively high, with well-known songwriters taking the anti-piracy message into schools as part of an education campaign backed by British Music Rights. But here too the music industry still has some way to go to win the hearts, minds and money of an often skeptical youth market. IFPI chairman John Kennedy comments: "The biggest challenge for the digital music business has always been to make music easier to buy than to steal. At the start of 2005, as the legitimate digital music business moves into the mainstream of consumer life, that ambition is turning into reality.”

________________

Fighting for orange

The color orange is at the heart of a dispute between two weighty trademark owners.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou is the founder of easyJet airlines and a string of other easyGroup companies, all of which use the group’s strong orange color branding. Orange, a UK-based subsidiary of France Telecom, is one of the world’s largest mobile phone companies. Up till now, no problem. But when Mr. Haji-Ioannou announced plans to launch a new, low-cost mobile phone service, easyMobile, Orange challenged immediately. Orange claims that the easyGroup has infringed its rights regarding the use of the color orange and could confuse customers if it is allowed to continue.

Orange states: “Our trademark and the rights connected with it are extremely important for us. EasyJet’s use of the color orange threatens to introduce the likelihood of confusion.”

Mr. Haji-Ioannou responds: “It is our right to use our own corporate colour for which we have become famous during the last 10 years. We have nothing to be afraid of in this court case.” He has added a disclaimer to the easyMobile website stating that the brand has no connection to Orange.

Attempts during the past six months to resolve the dispute amicably having failed, Orange has announced that it will begin legal proceedings for trademark infringement and passing off (i.e. misrepresentation causing public confusion). Mr. Haji-Ioannou says he will contest the case.

Orange and easyMobile are not the first to clash over company colors. In Germany, Kraft Foods Inc. last year won exclusive rights to the lilac color associated with their Milka chocolate following a dispute with a biscuit and waffle manufacturer.

________________

WIPO joint work program with ECLAC

WIPO and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have agreed to undertake three joint activities in 2005 related to innovation policy and intellectual property (IP):

  • a policy forum where policymakers will consider what can be learned from IP success stories in the developing world;
  • a comprehensive analysis of factors affecting the systemic environment of technology management and IP, which would favor economic development in the countries of the region; and
  • a high-level training course on technology management and IP aimed at policymakers and experts.

ECLAC, headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. Its main objective is to contribute to the economic and social development of Latin America. To this end it coordinates action and reinforces economic relationships among the countries of the region and with the other nations of the world.

________________

New Courses at the WIPO Academy

Students and professionals will be able to take advantage of an expanded range of intellectual property (IP) courses offered by the WIPO Academy this year. The 2005 program features enhancements to the distance learning program, as well as the WIPO Summer School. Completion of the Academy’s distance learning General Course on Intellectual Property (DL 101), available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian, is a prerequisite for participation in the new courses.

The new courses, offered on a fee basis with reduced charges for participants from certain countries, include:

  • Advanced Course on Copyright and Related Rights (DL 201) available in English, French and Spanish. Issues covered include recent developments and trends in international copyright law, and WIPO’s role. Course dates: May 1 to July 10;
  • Advanced course on Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property (DL202) available in English. This covers IP aspects of e-commerce in copyright, trademarks and patents. Course dates: May 1 to June 15.

Three additional courses: Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property (DL 203), Biotechnology and Intellectual Property (DL 204) and the International Protection of Plant Varieties (DL-205) are expected to be launched later this year.

The WIPO Summer School will resume this year. This is a four-week program in English held in Geneva from July 4 to 29. It consists of lectures and individual or group research on assigned topics. The program is open to candidates from all regions of the world and from all academic backgrounds.

Some 38,000 students, professionals and government officials from over 180 countries have benefited from the courses offered by the WIPO Academy since it was set up in 1998 to meet the rising demand for IP training and education.

________________

Explore WIPO