The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Thursday, 31 August 2006


The Physics and Law Group of the Institute of Physics is holding its AGM on 19 October with Trevor Baylis as the guest speaker. His subject will be Why Invent?

Although the event is directed at members of the Institute of Physics, and in particular the group members, anyone interested in attending the seminar or joining the group can drop the Honorary Secretary, Alex Turnbull, a line at this address.

Full details are available here.


Government copyright blunder reports that the British Governments super-techie decision to use YouTube to disseminate public information videos has hit an obstacle – its own copyright. Searching for the video, named Transformational Government, on YouTube reveals the following legend

This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner COI Television because its content was used without permission

The COI is part of the Cabinet Office, the body responsible for posting the video on YouTube in the first place.

The IPKat says that this does sound a little funny, but if the COI is an independent or quasi-independent body, then COI as copyright owner can object (but then why didn’t the Cabinet Office insist on an assignment of copyright?). The more interesting question is why it objected.


IPKat co-blogmeister Ilanah will be at this year’s ATRIP conference, starting next Monday. If you’re there, do stop and say hello.

Parma (right), venue of the ATRIP conference


Five Golden Rings

The IPKat's excitement at receiving his copy of Sweet & Maxwell's International Sports Law Review is sometimes diminished by (i) discovering how little IP it often contains and (ii) how thin it sometimes is. The just-published issue 3/06, however, is no disappointment to him at all. It's full of pages (a useful technique for keeping subscribers happy if they're paying over £500 a year for just four issues) and - this is the best bit, it's pretty rich in IP too. There's

* a long and really well-researched article by London barrister and author Christina Michalos on the development and protection of the Olympic symbol. Christina doesn't just spout pro- or anti- sentiments, but takes the trouble to ask questions like, for example, just why is it that so few states that compete in the Olympics have taken the trouble to sign up to the Nairobi Treaty on Protection of the Olympic Symbol (just 45, so far).

Right: Sweet & Maxwell like to test aspiring contributors rigorously before accepting their work for publication

* the full text of the judgment in the action brought by adidas against the various authorities running the main tennis tournaments in response to their attempts to curb the manner in which adidas uses its three-stripe motif on tennis wear.

Subscription details here

Tuesday, 29 August 2006


CNet reports on, a newly set-up website allowing the public to rewrite a patent's description in laypersons' terms, rate the technical accuracy of a patent, vote on a reasonable royalty value, and divulge information about its availability for licensing. Thus far the site is limited to patents that have already been granted. Members of the public can also make a note of prior art that they feel to be relevant to the patent in question. The site comes at a time when the USPTO has highlighted its intention to establish a peer review mechanism for patents.

The IPKat says that at the end of the day, the contents of the patents in question are public information and so free for public comment. However, this is no substitute for proper examination and, as with all Wikis, it is open to inaccurate or biased treatment by (often well-meaning) members of the public.

The good news is that the Community Patent finally has a launch date – Jaunary 2007! The (sort of) bad news is the Community Patent in question is the New York Law School’s Community Patent Review, which (according to its website) ‘seeks to create a peer review system for patents that exploits network technology to enable innovation experts to inform the patent examination procedure.’

Monday, 28 August 2006


Contact Music reports that William Smith, the producer who released a number of singles recorded by American Idol winner Taylor Hicks to iTunes, has revealed his defence: altruism. Smith is arguing that he only released the singles to show how good a singer Hicks is after the song he released for American Idol was heavily criticised.

Hicks: idol with the silver head

Said Smith:
‘I'm being sued because I am a better producer than American Idol…He was getting killed by that goofy single, and I knew he was better than that…I love Taylor Hicks. I had a three-year relationship with him. That single sucks, and this was purely altruistic on my part. I wanted to show critics that were killing him that he was way more than American Idol.’
It’s an interesting defence says the IPKat, but not one that’s recognised by copyright law.


Latest IP Review

Following its recent transformation from partnership to limited company, CPA has spared no effort to upgrade its quarterly magazine, IP Review, which is available free to anyone who wants an enjoyably pleasant bit of intellectual property reading matter. Cover girl is Paula Nelson, Nestlé General Counsel and a woman with a large responsibility for a valuable and sometimes controversial brand portfolio: she has some constructive views on letting IP personnel crawl out from under the desks so that they can mesh in with marketing and R&D folk. There's lots more stuff too, all short and sweet - perfect reading matter for any IP person with a short attention span ...

IPKat co-bloggie Jeremy is too modest to mention his little piece (near the back) on family feuds and their impact on surname brands.

Contents of the most recent issue here
Click here to receive IP Review by email

Friday, 25 August 2006


Rodeo - a Round-up of the issues

The IPKat has received information on a fascinating German decision from his friend, lawyer and scholar Malte Hartmann. This is RODEO/RODEO DRIVE, a decision of the Higher District Court Duesseldorf, Case I-20 U 110/04 of 8 November 2005 (available only from the OHIM website). The story goes like this:

The owner of the CTM for RODEO sued Christian Dior in France (the Member State of the defendant´s domicile) for offering sunglasses marked inter alia with the words "Rodeo Drive". The French court found no risk of confusion and dismissed the action, applying French law and considering likelihood of confusion through the eyes of the French consumer in France. Later, an unregistered licensee of the RODEO trade mark sued Dior before the District court of Duesseldorf: this time, the court considered German consumers in the German market. The District Court rejected the claim but the Higher District Court overruled this decision and granted injunctive relief.

The main procedural question was whether the decision of the French court barred the Duesseldorf court from hearing the dispute in the light of Articles 27 or 33 of
Regulation 44/2001 on jurisdiction: after all, the parties, trade marks, goods and alleged infringement was identical in each case. The court also had to decide whether a licensee is entitled to enforce a CTM if his licence is not registered, and whether its registration is compulsory pursuant to Article 23 of Regulation 40/94 (the CTM Regulation).

The court decided that the French decision did not prevent a decision on the merits. Since its territorial scope was limited to France, the matter in dispute was different to that in the German proceeding and Article 27 of Regulation 44/2001 did not apply - even though the infringement of the same CTM by the same acts between the same parties was in question. The CTM owner could seek a pan-EU injunction, but the merits of a claim brought by the CTM owner in respect of just one state would be considered in relation to that state.

Article 105 CTMR was not applicable since it requires parallel or subsequent infringement proceedings for identical national and Community trade marks. However, the court stated that - based on the principle of unity of the CTM - Article 105 aims to prevent contradictory decisions between courts of different Member States on the same subject matter. Still, the principle of the parties´ option defining the matter in dispute allows the territorial limitation of claims. The CTMR contains no restriction to prevent the CTM owner from subsequently enforcing his mark in different territories. As to Article 23 CTMR, this provision does not require registration of a licence for the licensee to enforce a CTM: it has only limited scope concerning property issues and is not applicable to infringement issues.
Says Malte:
"The exciting point about this decision is, in my opinion, that the court defines expressly the matter in dispute in CTM infringement procedures by the territority for which the claims are enforced and leaves the definition to the parties. This sounds natural at first, but Article 105 CTMR has a different wording. By applying Article 105 a lawsuit in Greece (for example), based on a Greek TM, would prevent a subsequent lawsuit in the UK between the same parties that was founded on an identical CTM. Of course, there would have to be the same parties and the same cause of action involved, but, this was the case in Duesseldorf (below, right).

Consequently, if the territorial scope of the injunction is at the discretion of the claimant, it must be possible to claim an injunction not only either EU-wide or in one Member State only, but for several Member States, the choice of will be at the claimant´s discretion (provided the court is compentent under Article 94(1) CTMR). This option has been discussed recently by scholars but has not yet arrived in litigation practice (as far as I am aware). It is suitable to provide benefit if the claimant cannot prove risk of confusion or necessary reputation in certain Member States. In such a case he can limit his claims to the Member States in which he can establish them".
The IPKat is delighted to see how much subtle variation can be read into Europe's pan-European Community trade mark protection scheme. It makes plenty of sense to him that German consumers may be confused by things that French consumers can easily tell apart, and vice versa. Merpel says, the Germans have been difficult about confusion ever since TERRAPIN/TERRA NOVA, not to mention the Gerolsteiner episode and ZIRH/SIR. Can anyone explain how a nation that produces so many outstanding scientists, philosophers, musicians and lawyers lives in fear of confusion GERRI and KERRY SPRING ...?

Learn about Rodeo here
Rodeo rissoles here
Rodeos - Peta's view here

Thursday, 24 August 2006


UK Registry to warn TM owners of dangers of conflict

The IPKat recently received a note from Guy Heath (Nabarro Nathanson) on the current state of play with regard to trade mark oppositions in the United Kingdom. In short, Guy says:

"Following consultation, the UK Trade Marks Registry announced this month that it will drop "relative grounds" examination. From around October 2007, the UK Registry proposes to ... use its prior rights search procedure merely to alert owners of earlier marks to potential conflicts.

This will bring UK practice into line with OHIM's approach. OHIM has never operated a relative grounds examination procedure, and around 25% of Community trade mark applications are opposed. With CTM applications outnumbering UK national trade mark applications by around 3:1, the UK Registry rightly feels that there is no longer a compelling rationale for its own intervention".
Guy asks what this shift in office procedure will mean in practice, observing:
"Some foresee that the UK Registry will lose further ground to OHIM, having lost its key distinguishing feature - the greater validity of the registrations that it issues. But the UK national procedure has other, enduring attractions: it is a quick and inexpensive way of getting rights in the core UK market, without the prospect of opposition from the numerous and vigilant trade mark owners in [the] European Union ...".
Predicting that UK opposition activity will increase considerably, Guy points out some of its salient features, with which foreign applicants may not be familiar. In particular,
* UK oppositions create an action estoppel. An unsuccessful opponent may be prevented from challenging validity later, even in a defence to infringement (this issue is currently being reviewed by the Court of Appeal in Special Effects v L'Oreal: see first instance decision here).

* Since 2004 Office rules require the content of the Statement of Grounds to be expressed in some detail. The attorney completing the form also has to sign a statement of truth. Would-be opponents should allow enough time for completion and verification of the pleading.

* Anyone opponent seeking to rely on registered rights over five years old must provide a Statement of Use for that mark. This is mandatory - not just (as at OHIM) something to be done at the applicant's request (though proof of the use will have to be given later).

* Where an opposition is based on registered rights, the registrar will usually give a preliminary indication of its likely success or failure. This is done once the pleadings are complete, but before dealing with the evidence. The outcome of the preliminary indication may either discourage an opportunistic opponent or force the parties to get real.

* There is a cooling-off period, but only if the opponent or applicant initiates it.

* UK procedure allows either party to request a hearing and cross-examination is an option.

* The registrar is increasingly prepared to award costs that reflects fees actually incurred. To avoid costs penalties, UK oppositions need to be run in a measured, economic fashion.
The IPKat thanks Guy for this and invites readers who practise in the UK to let him know if there are any further points we should ponder over, now that owners of earlier rights will have to engage more with the opposition process. Just email the IPKat here: he plans to publish any useful comments early next month.

No losers in Mars opposition (2003): click here to find out why
Opposition: the celestial science, here

Wednesday, 23 August 2006


Sky's the limit, but Al Jazeera's cheaper

The IPKat is grateful to Jonathan Mitchell QC for drawing his attention to this feature published by the International Herald Tribune. In essence it reports on the unauthorised transmission by English pubs of Premier League football matches that have been picked up off Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera's sports station. The commentary is in Arabic, but football is a universal language -- it can be appreciated perfectly well even when the sound's turned off. The Premier League has been suing pubs for copyright infringement, claiming that there's a perfectly good licence available to show Premier League games via exclusive licensee Sky. Pub owners say Sky's too expensive, though.

The IPKat is torn in two over this. He deprecates any unlawful siphoning off of broadcasts, particularly by pub-owners who do so for their personal profit rather than for the altruistic pleasure of bringing football games to the impoverished masses. However, he dearly wishes to see more competition for the supply of broadcast football games to the public and dislikes the notion that television viewers have to subscribe to Sky and pay extra for the privilege of watching football games: the extra broadcasting revenue pumped into the game appears to make it more expensive for fans, not cheaper. Merpel says, "Didn't I see you peeping in through the pub window, trying to watch the game for free ..."

See IPKat post of 12 May, "Easy win for UEFA", here


The IPKat has learnt from The Age that the Austrialian Government has released details of the settlement between Deckers, the US company which successfully trademarked the term UGG and Austrialian makers of sheepskin boots known as ugg boots. The term was allowed to remain on the register, but it seems that Australian bootmakers can use it, as long as they don’t (according to the article) mark their product with a brand deceptively similar to another. Said the Parliamentary Industry Secretary

“The trademark protection only applies for the way the mark looks or appears in its entirety, rather than the words used within it”.

The IPKat says that this sounds like very narrow protection, limited to the word in a particular typeface. If so, the competition will not be harmed.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006


Keeping tabs on guitarists

The IPKat thanks his friend Miri Frankel once again (as well as Tun Zaw Mra, who emailed him on this very subject last week), for this feature in the New York Times on tablature sites. These are websites where guitarists exchange tips on how to play their favourite tunes rather than how they can download them for free., Music Publishers’ Association and the National Music Publishers’ Association (both of the USA) are reported to have closed down several websites or have pressured them to remove allegedly infringing tabs, but users have quickly migrated to other sites. The publishers share royalties with composers when customers buy sheet music or books of guitar tablature; they maintain that tablature postings are protected by copyright laws because the postings represent “derivative works” that are related to the original compositions.

The IPKat would not like to see composers of guitar music vilified by virtue of the fact that they have such big, powerful friends as the MPA and the NMPA. Many of them would be unable to afford to enforce their copyright, which is why they rely on collecting societies to do their dirty work for them. The fact that serious and sincere tab-seeking guitar players have a more attractive profile than rampant P2P file-sharers, and do a lot less economic damage, should not be allowed to prevent composers of guitar music getting their due too. However, sites that genuinely discuss guitar playing techniques should not be browbeaten into submission: the more people there out there playing the guitar, the more people are likely to buy sheet music and the more money composers and their publishers will make.

Merpel adds, sheet music is hardly a big money-earner these days anyway: why publish the stuff at all, if you can't sell the guitar music that's unpopular and you can't stop free and easy copying of the stuff that is popular? An afterthought: presumably a non-copied, original tablature should be capable of gaining protection in its own right - but what sort of author's work is it? It's not actually the music but a way of playing the music. Does that make it a literary work? Or a dramatic work since its virtue is in the way something is physically done?

While My Guitar Gently Weeps here
My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama here
Ziggy Stardust played guitar here


Japanese cases

The IPKat has been asked to draw his readers’ attention to the English translations of Japanese intellectual property cases available on the Japanese Institute of Intellectual Property’s website. Included are cases on all the major IP rights from a range of Japanese courts.

The database is still in development – comments and suggestions are encouraged to

Naughty patent?

Lifestyle Extra reports that pharmaceutical company Phynova has obtained its first UK patent for a medicine based on Chinese medicine. The patent is in respect of PYN17, a botanical drug for the treatment of Hepatitis C.

The IPKat wonders precisely how much this drug is based on Chinese medicine. Presumably if it is too faithful, it should be barred from patentability.

Monday, 21 August 2006


Innovation, governance .. and what?

Intellectual Property Rights: Innovation, Governance and the Institutional Environment is another new IP book published by Edward Elgar. Edited by Birgitte Andersen (Reader in the Economics and Management of Innovation, School, Birkbeck College, London), this book bucks the trend by containing a smaller number of longer essays rather than the larger number of smaller ones.

What the publisher says:

"There is a growing need to understand the role of the regulation of intellectual property rights (IPRs), in order not only to achieve economic performance, growth and sustainable development at corporate, sectoral and global levels, but also to provide a higher quality of life for communities worldwide.

Intellectual Property Rights is cutting edge in addressing current debates affecting businesses, industry sectors and society today, and in focusing not only on the enabling welfare effects of IPR systems, but also on some of the possible adverse effects of IPR systems. [...]

Druids convening to discuss intellectual property rights

This book challenges the existing mainstream thinking and analytical frameworks dominating the theoretical literature on IPRs within economics, management, politics, law and regulation theory. It is relevant for policymakers, business analysts, industrial and business economists, researchers and students".
What the IPKat says: Having found the title of this book a little frightening, I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading it. The focal point for the content is the 2003 DRUID conference ('DRUID' in this context being the Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics), where a round table reviewed the belief systems underpinning intellectual property rights and their increased enforcement. There's always a problem when this topic comes up: the IP-dependent business community (and those, including government who depend on its wealth-creation) looks forward and is based on a combination of moral propositions and belief, while the IPR research community looks backwards -- to where the facts are -- and is often more comfortable with description and explanation than with prescription and prediction. This book helps the reader bridge the gap and can be firmly recommended for anyone interested in patents but who doesn't want to start reading from the fourteenth century onwards.

Bibliographical details: ISBNs 1 84542 269 4 and 13 978 1 84542 269 1. Hardback, xiii + 359 pages. Available from the publisher's website at the reduced price of £ 71.96. Rupture factor: no substantial risk. Must-read bit: the editor's "If 'intellectual property rights' is the answer, what is the question? Revisiting the patent controversies", which the IPKat missed when it first came out in Economics of Innovation and New Technology. Says the IPKat, it's a short-cut to sorting out the issues without having to plough through a lot of ancient (and in some cases doubtful) theory.


For those of you who think that the right wing is generally pro-IP, bear in mind the St Albans Conservative party. The St Albans Observer reports that Bulgarian photographer Anna Chaleva is complaining that the party copied two of her photos from the Pictures of England website. The party’s publisher blames the website, saying he tried to contact it for permission but they didn’t respond. Chaleva is unimpressed, pointing to the fact that she was subsequently offered £2 per photo in recompense. The party agent says:

"I have acted honourably and innocently. Mr Johnston [the publisher] tells me I have no liability and until somebody tells me otherwise, I am not prepared to spend time and money pursuing it".
St Alban (left) was not available for comment

The IPKat thinks that when threats of legal action are being bandied about, it’s probably not a good idea to take legal advice from your publisher.

Sunday, 20 August 2006


Latest ETMR

The September 2006 issue of Sweet & Maxwell's monthly European Trade Mark Reports has now been published, once again ahead of schedule (well done, Sweets). Cases reported in English for the first time in this issue are

* SA Inès de la Fressange v Inès Seignard de la Fressange (Cour d'appel de Paris, France) - a celebrity, having assigned trade mark rights to her name, is nonetheless protected against the assignee's false representation that she remains associated with the assignee's business;

* PepsiCo Inc v Coca-Cola (District Court, Utrecht, The Netherlands) - action for infringement of Benelux mark is an abuse of process, where a previous action for infringement of the identical Community trade mark was already rejected.
Another fascinating decision reported in this issue is Adidas-Salomon AG v Draper (Chancery Division, England and Wales), in which adidas won the first round of what will probably be a lengthy struggle against the world's tennis authorities as to whether their rules can limit the use of adidas' three-stripe trade mark on tenniswear used in major tournaments.

As usual, the IPKat is delighted to receive suggestions from his readers as to any cases they'd like to see reported in full in the ETMR. Please email your suggestions here.


Unfortunate Tokyo trade mark

GI japes

Seems like GIs are the order of the day.

*AND reports that Ethiopia is considering the first draft of a geographical indications bill. Said Yakob Yala:

“It is recognised that geographical indications can be valuable marketing symbols to promote economic prosperity for producers of goods produced in particular geographical areas…It is believed that protection of geographical indication rights will have a positive impact on the national economic advancement and especially on the trade and industrial development of the country.”

* No one seems happy with New Zealand’s GI bill. Both the wine-growers and the Maori Party are objecting (for different reasons).

The IPKat notes that, while GIs bring a heap load of trouble, no one can afford to ignore them once everyone else has them.

Saturday, 19 August 2006


Patents and experimental use

A couple of days ago the IPKat posted a note on a book on employee inventors' rights published by the Intellectual Property Institute . A second recent publication of the IPI is also in the IPKat's possession: it's A European Perspective as to the Extent to Which Experimental Use, and Certain Other Defences to Patent Infringement, Apply to Differing Types of Research. This report was prepared for the Institute by the IPKat's friend, the greatly-revered Bird & Bird partner Trevor Cook.

The IPI says:

"In recent years the application of the statutory experimental use defence to patent infringement in the UK and the rest of Europe to "research tool patents" and "gene patents" has been the subject of controversy. At the same time the USA, lacking such a defence, has been exploring the extent to which its regulatory review defence for medicinal products can extend back into early stage research, culminating in a decision last year of the Supreme Court. Against this background Australia and Canada have been investigating introducing their own statutory experimental use defences. The present study considers the extent to which the statutory experimental use defence in the UK and the rest of Europe applies to research away from the context of late stage trials for medicinal and other regulated products in which all the case law has developed, and considers whether, and to what extent, legislative change might be appropriate".
The IPKat says: This is an impressively thorough and well-informed piece of work. It follows a report published by the IPI on behalf of the UK's Department of Trade and Industry on the law and practice regarding patents for genetic sequences. The great attribute of this book is the manner in which it assimilates and organises the past and present thinking on the subject. Experimental use, like any other controversial IP topic, is fraught with issues of balance, since the extent to which a patent holder can restrict or control experimental use of its own patented subject matter is the same extent to which other patent owners can interfere with its own freedom of research activity.

By the same author: "Responding to Concerns About the Scope of the Defence From Patent Infringement for Acts Done for Experimental Purposes Relating to the Subject-Matter of the Invention" [2006] 2 Intellectual Property Quarterly 193-222. This article was published in the same week as the book. Merpel notes that the IPQ is published in cahoots with the Institute, whose name and logo appear on its front cover.

Bibliographic data: Publication date, August 2006. Paperback, 148 (large A4-sized) pages. £60 plus postage and packaging. Rupture factor - small. Must-read bits: (i) the very clear account of the evolution of the US doctrine and (ii) the summary and conclusions.

Friday, 18 August 2006


Friday reminders ...

IP Litigation conference. If you haven't yet booked to attend IP Enforcement and Remedies: An international perspective on enforcement of rights and injunctive relief, a one-day conference run by LexisNexis Butterworths and held in Central London, it's time to get a move-on. Although the conference doesn't take place till 31 October, you can save £50 by booking on or before 22 August. Full programme and registration details available here.

Right: IP enforcers, ever watchful for infringers

Tomasz Rychlicki. If you were on holiday and missed last week's post, the IPKat reminds you that his friend Tomasz Rychlicki is looking for some good IP experience in London over the coming year. Click here for details.

IPKat email circular. To receive your IPKat postings by email, just email the IPKat here and he'll add you to the list. For the record, most weeks the IPKat and Merpel post between around 15 and 30 items. These include comments on recent cases and legal developments, commercial and cultural news, information on books, journals and conferences, plus some stuff that defies categorisation.

Latest IPQ

Issue 3 for 2006 of the learned Intellectual Property Quarterly, published by Sweet & Maxwell, has just reached the IPKat. This issue features some series stuff. Among other things, there's a scintillating piece on the curious UK litigation over the legal status of MELTON MOWBRAY PORK PIE as a protected geographical indication for pork pies coming from various places other than Melton Mowbray. There's also some mind-stretching speculation by the University of Edinburgh's Charlotte Waelde on geospatial data and database protection.

Thursday, 17 August 2006


Thai patent

GlaxoSmithKline has withdrawn a Thai patent application for an AIDs drug
following public pressure. So reports LifeStyleExtra. It has not given the reason, though campaigners claim it is because the invention combined formerly known drugs in a way that was not patentable.

The IPKat reckons its hard to know the reason why, but the effect is the same.

Good luck!

Good luck to all those students taking the London LLM IIP exam tomorrow.


Ownership of employee inventions

Right: a scene from The Man in the White Suit, a classic movie tale of the fight to control an errant employee's invention

The IPKat has just received a copy of a research paper from the Intellectual Property Institute (IPI), London. It's Ownership of Employee Inventions and Remuneration: a Comparative Overview. Authored by the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute pairing of Rajesh Sagar and Aditya Nagarsheth, this paper reviews the employee invention provisions in Germany, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, India and China.

Left: today's manufacturers - tomorrow's innovators?

The IPKat is particularly pleased to see some serious discussion of the laws of developing countries. The German, Japanese and US positions have been visited so often in the past - but, seeing that the outsourcing of manufacturing processes carries with it an inevitable transfer of technology and know-how, there is a likelihood that the proportion of industrial innovation emanating from 'hands-on' manufacturing experience will rise. When it does, a three-way tussle between employee inventor, manufacturing employer and the business that commissions the manufacture may generate some interesting interplay.

This work is available directly from the IPI, which is a charitable organisation that needs lots of support if it is to carry on its good work.

Bibliographic details: ISBN 1 874001 90 1; paperback, 39pp (A4 size, so you get lots of text per page). Price £10 + postage and packaging. Rupture factor - non-existent; the book is light and will comply with even into the meanest airline hand-luggage restrictions.

Memo to the IPI: neither this book nor Trevor Cook's work on experimental use defences in patent law (to be reviewed shortly) are listed under Publications on the IPI's website. For some unknown reason they are mentioned under the menu for 'Newsletter'. Please rectify!

Wednesday, 16 August 2006


The Scotsman reports that the Trade Mark Registry has allowed a company to register EDINBURGH PALE ALE, even though the beer is brewed in Dunbar. This appears to have been a relative grounds opposition, with the opponent failing to establish that there would be confusion with its EDINBURGH STRONG ALE. Moreover, the hearing officer found that consumers would not be deceived as to the geographical origin of the goods.

The IPKat says that it’s hard to judge deception as to geographical origin without seeing the evidence but he reckons that, with regard to the confusion argument, the hearing officer has made a good call. Any other approach would grant a monopoly in a geographical term, which would not be good.


Computer Law Conference

The IPKat's friend and hero Andres Guadamuz (the TechnoLlama) has drawn his attention to the Sixth Computer Law World Conference, Edinburgh, 6-8 September 2006. There's a great programme, a great bunch of speakers and a great chance to wear your winter woollies for the first time in months, since it can get pretty cold at night in that beautiful city.

Right: can you guess the connection between this illustration and computers? (answer below)

Programme here; register here; Scottish woolly jumpers here -- and you'll need them unless you look like Andres here.

Answer to the question above: it's a Macintosh tartan


The IPKat is indebted to James Gray (Withers & Rogers) for drawing his attention to this link, which shows just how much Google is suffering for its popularity.

For those too lazy to follow the link, search engine Google has instructed its lawyers to chase publishers who use 'to google' and other generic uses of the G-word - even though it is now in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Cease and desist letters are being sent to media, aking them not to allow the use of Googling and apparently making helpful suggestions as to what else they might use instead.

Wikipedia on "to google" here
Other G-things here: 'G' Men, Gmail, G force, G-string, G-wizz [IPKat health warning: not for people who are allergic to train-spotting].


Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey ... and that's just the judges

Above: some of Walt Disney's most lovable creations ...

The IPKat, following a tip from his well-informed friend Uma Suthersanen, can reveal to you that three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Snow White's seven dwarfs, while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday. Other key findings:

* 57 percent of Americans could identify J.K. Rowling's fictional boy wizard as Harry Potter, while only 50 percent could name the British prime minister, Tony Blair;

* Just over 60 percent of respondents were able to name Bart as Homer's son on the television show "The Simpsons," while only 20.5 percent were able to name one of the ancient Greek poet Homer's epic poems, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey."

* Asked what planet Superman was from, 60 percent named the fictional planet Krypton, while only 37 percent knew that Mercury is the planet closest to the sun.

Above: US Supreme Court in seven-in-a-bed scandal. But will they be named?

The IPKat says, this just goes to show how powerful are the effects of intellectual property: fictional creations are more familiar to us than reality itself. Merpel says, stop pontificating and just tell us which were the two dwarfs and seven judges you couldn't name ...?

Names and biographies of the US Supreme Court judges here
Names of the Seven Dwarfs in lots of different languages here
Dwarfs: facts, figures and political rectitude here

Espresso machine for literary works

The IPKat thanks his friend Miri Frankel for this link to an informative article by Judith Rosen in Publishers Weekly. It discusses an exciting venture, On Demand Books, which is beta testing the Espresso Book Machine which can print black-and-white text for a 300-page paperback with a four-colour cover, and bind it, in three minutes. Try this quote for size:
"In theory, every book printed will be digitized, which means the market will be radically decentralized. A bookstore with this technology, without any expense to themselves [other than the machine] can increase their footprint".
The IPKat agrees that the possibilities are endless. Booksellers don't need to store a vast stock and police it: all they need is a bit of electronic cable and a broadband connection. It's also environmentally friendly: no books need ever again be pulped. And electronic tagging can record every book printed, for royalty purposes. Merpel says, can we have one for DVDs too, please?

Some novels you don't want the person in front of you in the line to be printing here, here and here

Tuesday, 15 August 2006


Software patents

Slashdot claims that the European patent ‘war’ (their term, not the IPKat’s) is to gather momentum again this winter. It is predicted that, in this bout, the pro-patent lobby will aim their attentions at the judiciary rather than pushing for legislative change.

The IPKat took a look at the blog posting on which Slashdot based its story. One of the pro-patent lobby’s alleged means is to target negotiations concerning the Community patent. The IPKat reckons that, if this is the case, they might have a bit of a wait…

Politics of darkness

Webknow reports that the Swedish Pirate Party has launched its own internet service. The service is a ‘darknet’ under which users remain untraceable. Said the party chairman:

"There are many legitimate reasons to want to be completely anonymous on the Internet…If the government can check everything each citizen does, nobody can keep the government in check. The right to exchange information in private is fundamental to the democratic society. Without a safe and convenient way of accessing the Internet anonymously, this right is rendered null and void".
The Pirate Party was formed at the beginning of the year, and is standing in autumn’s Swedish election. It is standing on a platform of 3 issues: shared culture, free knowledge, and protected privacy. The party claims that privacy and copyright go together since the only way to enforce today’s strong copyright is to keep tabs on internet users.

The IPKat wonders how long this darknet will be able to remain dark.

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