For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Tuesday, 4 January 2005

TSUNAMI DETECTOR INVENTION OFFERED TO AFFLICTED COUNTRIES


An Israeli company, according to the Economic Times, said it planned to distribute free to Asian countries hit by last week's tsunami a device it says could save lives by warning holiday-makers directly that a tidal wave is coming. The system, developed by inventor Meir Gitelis, uses land and water sensors, smaller than a shoe box and each costing $170, to measure seismic activity and wave motion. Like other systems already in operation, the sensors can send alerts in seconds by satellite to governments anywhere in the world. Unlike others, this system can also relay warnings directly to private subscribers over cellphones, pagers or dedicated receivers, spreading the message more widely. Seaside hotels could install a satellite receiver to pick up warnings broadcast over the system seconds after an earthquake that could cause giant waves. Local cellphone or pager networks could do the same and send SMS messages to their subscribers.

"The sensors determine the tremor's intensity as well as the height and speed of the waves above it",
said Gitelis, of Avtipus Patents and Inventions Ltd., which specialises in sensors and communications devices.


Sri Lanka: adding self-inflicted damage to that caused by the recent disaster?
The IPKat wonders how many countries in the disaster zone will accept this free offer. Sri Lanka, it seems, would rather let people die than accept Israeli help.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a contracts lawyer occasionally involved in Government procurement, it sounds to me like Sri Lanka is being very sensible. I do not wish to impugn this particular firm: however (as anyone who owns an laser printer knows) the lifetime cost of running technology often exceeds any initial outlay by tenfold or more. Hence, firms can afford to sell a core product at a loss if they are assured of a greater income stream at a later date. And all firms eventually need to make money.

IP plays a big role in generating this future income stream. It restricts the customer’s ability to obtain consumables, parts, and extra units, from third parties. Also, rights over computer code and blueprints inhibit competition when it comes to designing co-operating products, or making modifications to the original product. And surely matters are complicated further where an IP rightsholder is based in a country that has a reputation for having rather violent squabbles with its neighbours? Belligerency attracts trade sanctions - and if you can not obtain parts from your monopoly supplier, what can you do? Even where there are legal defences such as “must-fit”, and compulsory licensing regimes, in practice they may not be useful.

In short, any tsunami-warning-system will need to go through a proper public procurement competition, including intensive scrutiny from specialist IP-appreciating lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, IP Kat! Why are you being so...catty? I look forward to your erudite explanations of Lord Hoffman’s latest judgments, not this neo-con calumny from american Hate Radio. This “story” has been circulating over the last few days with ever-increasing elaboration. Sri Lanka has indeed turned down military assistance: not only from Israel, but from other countries too. However it had requested, and received, a considerable amount of (more appropriate) humanitarian aid from both the Israeli State and from Israeli and Jewish NGOs. See for example the official Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs report at: http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2004/Israeli+humanitarian+and+medical+shipments+leave+for+Sri+Lanka.htm

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