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.

Thursday, 11 August 2005

SMALL BEER, McBRATS AND A POSSIBLE FALL IN P2P INFRINGEMENTS


1 Reverse marketing

Ananova reports that Belgian trappist monks in the Saint Sixtus monastery, Flanders, are refusing to make any more beer despite selling out after www.rateBeer.com designated it the world's best. The beer, WESTVLETEREN, renowned for its flavour and strength, has been brewed there for 160 years. Said a spokesman for the trappists:

"We produce only as much beer as we need to finance our little community, and not one litre more. We produce beer to live, we don't live to produce beer. Foreigners don't often understand why we don't expand production. But to us the life in the abbey is more important than the brewery".
WESTVLETEREN has not been distributed commercially since 1941 and can be bought only at Saint Sixtus.

It's good to see that, in these days of mass-production and globalisation, scarcity value still has some meaning. The IPKat is reminded of the apocryphal story of the man who tried to buy a Rolls-Royce car from a swanky showroom (this was in the days when a Roller was a real status symbol), only to be told: "we don't have any in stock, if we had one we wouldn't sell it to you and you couldn't afford it anyway". Merpel says, Saint Sixtus will probably come under assault from the competition bloodhounds in the European Commission, for refusing to meet reasonable demand in the single European market ...

Saint Sixtus: details of the man and the monastery.
More about the Trappists at Trappist.net.


2 Latest IAM

The August/September 2005 issue of IAM (Intellectual Asset Management) has now reached the IPKat. It leads with a cover story on Hewlett Packard's Joe Beyers, an ex-engineer and frustrated patentee who now heads HP's IP strategy and takes the who-to-sue decisions.

There's also news of McDonald's bust-up in Australia with Brisbane IP practitioner Malcolm McBratney over Big Mac's McBRATS application (McBratney had previously had his application to register McBRAT opposed by the fast-food kings, citing a likelihood of confusion with the McKIDS mark that McBratney is now seeking to revoke for non-use).


3 So who uses file-sharing networks?

This news item on the BBC website is quite informative: only 61.4% of digital files being swapped on file-sharing networks are videos, according to P2P traffic analysts CacheLogic.

eDonkey was this year's most popular sharing network for video, while BitTorrent is carrying less video traffic but seems to be used more for sharing files that habe neither video nor audio content. These comes from a survey of global traffic over the main P2P services - Gnutella, FastTrack, BitTorrent and eDonkey - over a 48-hour period. CacheLogic reckons that more "legitimate" content was being swapped over BitTorrent, possibly a result of the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) recent legal action which specifically targeted BitTorrent tracker sites.

The IPKat is glad to note that P2P technologies are genuinely being used for legitimate purposes. Anyone reading the US Supreme Court's Grokster ruling might have thought that legitimate use was nothing other than a fig-leaf behind which all manner of improprieties were concealed.

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On a point of order, Rolls-Royce is still a status symbol. It's just that the brand is a symbol of a rather different sort of status. "Rolls-Royce" tells me its owner is flashy, nouveau-riche, possibly involved in the unregulated parts of the financial sector and not afraid of being seen.

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