Author ORCID Identifier

David Vaver: 0000-0002-8184-3012

Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

Intellectual Property Journal, 35(1), 7-35.


Copyright; Intellectual property; Coca-Cola


For me, it was a trip through the judgments of a master craftsman who could succinctly summarize the dispute before him; weigh the conflicting evidence; say what rang true and what did not; state the applicable law, often from first principles set in their historical and policy context; and end by saying who won and lost and what to do. Copyright law might be "over-strong", as he suggested in a 1996 lecture;14 but when he had to decide whether a TV documentary critical of cheque-book journalism could freely use another channel's footage to make its point, Laddie J. said his job was to interpret, not supplement, the law: courts had no "general wide discretion . . . to refuse to enforce copyright where they believe such refusal to be fair and reasonable. In the 1980s, he had appeared as counsel for the Registrar of Trade Marks to argue successfully against Coca-Cola's attempts to register its distinctive bottle as a trademark to get what every trader craves: potentially perpetual protection.20 The bottle wasn't art (except perhaps to Andy Warhol); it had nothing patentable about it; and the registration for its design, though new in 1925, had expired in 1940. Trademark law does not rush in where other IP fears to tread.

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