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.

Friday, 29 July 2005

A LONG TIME TO WAIT ...


Once again, apologies to those of you who received a half-baked blog with your emails yesterday. This is what it should have looked like ...


1 We always knew ...

The IPKat found this on fcw.com; it's on a report concerning the exodus of patent examiners from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

This report informs us that the Office has been beset by recruitment problems, a culture of poor employee/manager relations, the lack of an effective management strategy for communicating and collaborating with examiners, outdated assumptions about production quotas that managers use to reward examiners and a lack of mandatory continued technical training for patent examiners, not to mention good old fashioned stress.

Strained employee/manager relations at USPTO reportedly stem from managers who "don't respect the input and advice they get from their employees." A related cause is patent examiners' discontent with what they say are unreasonable production quotas that examiners must work overtime to meet. Says one concerned party: "This is a legal sweatshop here. The truth is we could do a better job with more time".

Jason Schultz, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who specialises in intellectual property issues, said:

"The incredible surge of patent applications, especially in the software and internet business method arena, is just crushing them, and the management problems are rising to the surface with greater visibility for those reasons. Where anything under the sun is patentable, it puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on the patent office".

The IPKat has total sympathy for USPTO employees. Just think how little they get paid -- especially compared to patent and trade mark practitioners who are paid to run rings around them.


2 A big mistake?

The State of Kerala, India, is trying to get international patents for herbal formulations and other medicines currently in use by traditional tribal practitioners, for the aged, Scheduled castes and tribes, Backward Classes Welfare Minister A P Anilkular told the State Assembly earlier this week. He said systematic studies were being conducted by various research organisations for the purpose. Mr Anilkular added that the Government was also implementing a project, under the Tropical Botanic Garden, Palode, near here, to prepare a database of tribal knowledge by digitalising it. Besides this, work on collecting and protecting traditional treatment methods wasbeing taken up by the 'patent cell' under the Ayurveda Medical Education Department.

The IPKat wonders how much money is likely to be wasted in applying for patents that cannot be valid since the traditional medicine covered by them will be found to be part of the prior art. He also observes that, once the subject-matter of these formulations is published in patent applications, it will just be a matter of time before everyone can freely and easily copy them. Is that what the Minister wants?


3 Latest Trademark Worlds

The IPKat's supply of Trademark World has been rather interrupted of late. This might be because the June issue, fronted by the dazzling if improbably named Paris Hilton (below, left), never reached him and is presumed kidnapped by the local postmen. The July/August issue, fronted by the more wrinkled but no less dazzling Jackie Chan (right), is in the Kat's paws right now. So, what do the two most recent issues have to offer?

The June issue features Albert Tramposch (INTA) on criminal counterfeiting and veteran commentator Michael Cover (Charles Russell) on the CTM appeal procedures to the Court of First Instance.

The July/August issue carries an article by Justin Watts and Ivan Waide (Freshfields) on dealing with parallel imports from territories outside the European Economic Area, a very interesting piece by Alasdair Bleakley (Addleshaw Goddard) on MG Rover and the case for IP audits, plus a survey of Australian passing off, trade mark infringement cases involving jurisdiction over the internet by Blake Dawson Waldron's Lisa Ritson and Brian Elkington.

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