1 Israel set to attack China?
The excellent Patent Baristas blog reports that President George W. Bush has appointed Chris Israel as the new Coordinator of International Intellectual Property Enforcement, a position Congress created last year to coordinate law-enforcement efforts aimed at stopping international copyright infringement and to oversee a federal umbrella agency responsible for administering intellectual property law. Intellectual property law enforcement is divided among a range of agencies, including the Library of Congress, the Justice and State departments and the U.S. Trade Representative.
As the Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement, Israel will head the international work of the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (NIPLECC) and coordinate and supervise international intellectual property protection plans among other agencies. This is a part of the implementation of the Bush administration's "Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP)" initiative. The initiative protects American businesses and their products from counterfeiters and pirates. The Patent Baristas note that, though NIPLECC has been around since the early 1990s, it has never actually done anything. The hope is that giving the organisation some money and a new charter will finally give the office some backbone.
A major goal is to reduce counterfeits in China, where the piracy levels approach 90%. The Commerce Department estimates that nearly 7% of the products in the global market are counterfeit, costing U.S. companies up to $200 billion a year in lost sales.
2 A little light holiday reading
Legal scholar and IPKat friend Mikko Valimaki has put the entire text of his PhD thesis online. Entitled The Rise of Open Source Licensing: a Challenge to the Use of Intellectual Property in the Software Industry, Mikko's work draws on detailed case studies, historical narrative and the application of economic theory in seeking to show how open source licensing is used for strategic advantage.
He says: "Interestingly, everything has worked despite - rather than because of - ever-expanding intellectual property rights" and he concludes "This book goes beyond fear and doubt arguing that such legal risks are in the end just necessary but manageable uncertainties, which always come with a new business model".
3 More on DYKES ON BIKES
Andrea Glorioso has sent the IPKat this follow-up from the EFF on the non-registrability in the United States of the word mark DYKES ON BIKES for offensive content.
"When word got out recently that a trademark application for the San Francisco-based nonprofit group Dykes on Bikes was rejected, EFF did some further research into the grounds for rejection. ... Despite the more than 400 pages of scholarship submitted in support of the application, the US Patent and Trademark Office relied on two dictionary definitions as proof that the word was "offensive." The first definition originated from an online version of the 1913 Webster's dictionary. Beyond its age and out-of-date nature, the dictionary's definition also had the tag "PJC" on it. We were intrigued, so we decided to investigate further.Well done, EFF, says the IPKat. Dictionaries -- even when accurate -- are frequently used as an excuse for not having any genuinely reliable evidence on hand. But, er, can anyone tell him what a psychic phone whore is supposed to be?
It turns out that "PJC" stood for "Patrick J. Cassidy" of Micra, the company that created the online version. Terms in the dictionary bearing his "tag" indicate that they were not, in fact, part of the original dictionary he had transcribed online but rather something that he himself had arbitrarily added. So in essence, the PTO relied on a definition that was created at random by someone not at all associated with Webster's dictionary. The second definition the PTO relied on came from an online dictionary of Spanish slang that listed "dyke" as a "vulgar word." Once again
there was no accountability for the definition -- it was just one person's site giving what they consider vulgar words in Spanish.
The PTO gave no reason or justification for why these two websites were somehow more influential or credible than the over 400 pages submitted by DOB. Interestingly, the PTO approved trademarks for "Hustler's Young Sluts," "Psychic Phone Whores," and "Psychobitch." All three terms -- "slut," "whore" and "bitch" -- are listed as vulgar in that Spanish slang dictionary the PTO chose to rely on in this case".
4 Putin' on the Agony
Ananova reports that it has become highly fashionable in Russia to have oneself tattooed with a portrait of the increasingly unopposed President Vladimir Putin (seen, left, in conversation with one of his spin doctors). The IPKat is quite concerned that the poor man's rights of publicity and personality are coming under threat. When this retiring gentleman hands over the keys of office to his successor and retires to the secluded splendour of his dacha to write his memoirs, might it not be offensive for him to be continuously confronted by images of his younger self adorning odd strips of pale, exposed Russian skin? Also, might his successor not feel safer in office if, on assuming the Presidency, he were to order the removal of all Putin tattoos?