1 Global trading? Thinking of starting a WTO dispute?
The IPKat's prodigious reading habits have not stopped for the summer. He has just been contemplating another Edward Elgar doorstep, The WTO and International Trade Law/Dispute Settlement, edited by Petros C. Mavroidis (Columbia Law School, New York) and Alan O. Sykes (University of Chicago Law School). Published earlier this year, this tome weighs in with 712 pages on its chosen subjects, at a hardback price of £160 (web price £144). It contains 25 articles, written between 1992 and 2003 by various distinguished contributors (including several by Alan Sykes himself). As the book's web page says,
"The collection is divided into six parts. The first addresses broad questions about the scope and function of the dispute resolution system. Part II considers the relationship between the dispute system and national authorities, while part III focuses more narrowly on the remedies for breach of legal obligations in the WTO system. Part IV examines litigation and settlement questions. Part V considers the pre-WTO environment and the role of unilateralism in the enforcement of commitments under GATT. The final section looks at broader systemic issues".The IPKat gets a little impatient with practising lawyers in Europe who say that TRIPs and WTO dispute settlement has nothing in it for them, because it's just an international law issue -- but just look at how effectively some lawyer-led lobby groups have been able to prompt national governments into bringing WTO complaints on behalf of their clients and you can see how important WTO dispute settlement can be in the wider scheme of things. Anyway, if you want to know more about the subject and don't suffer from hernias, this book has plenty for you (even more if you're enough of an economist to speak Algebra as a second language ...)
Alternative dispute resolution (above)
2 Cyberextortion and digital thugs
This piece is pretty scary. It's the story of MicroPatent's ultimately successful battle to unearth a computer-savvy cyberextortionist who demanded $17 million from the patent and trade mark information business, claiming that he had thousands of proprietary MicroPatent documents, confidential customer data, computer passwords and email addresses. Using He warned that, if his demands were ignored, the information would "end up in e-mail boxes worldwide". The Thomson subsidiary had to call in the FBI before the extortionist was traced.
The IPKat sympathises with all businesses that face these threats; the balance between calling a blackmailer's bluff and having all one's client's confidential files leaked is a tough one to call in business terms.
3 That's entertainment
Issue 6 (July 2005) of Sweet & Maxwell's Entertainment Law Review has finally reached the top of the IPKat's in-tray. Now published eight times a year, the EntLR carries articles that range from mainline IP topics to issues such as defamation and media regulation. This issue contains, among other things,
* a piece by the IPKat's friend Maria Mercedes Frabboni (QMIPRI) on the European Commission's Communication on the Management of Copyright and Related Rights in the Internal Market, which was published last year with an eye to a shake-up of collective rights management;The IPKat is pleased to see how bright and relevant the EntLR's content has become, but he is at a loss to understand why the News Section contains a note on a Hungarian pharmaceutical trade mark opposition: it might be entertaining but it's not entertainment. Note to EntLR's editorial team: this should be sent to the EIPR ...
* Phil Lee (Denton Wilde Sapte) writes on Marvel's US litigation to stop the unauthorised use of its superhero characters in the "City of Heroes" computer game;
* Nigel Davies (KLNG) questions whether, despite all the interest generated by digital rights management, anything has really changed in the field of music copyright exploitation.