The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Thursday, 22 September 2005


1 Lemelson's unpopular patents

The IPKat has been asked by various of his friends why he hasn't blogged anything about the ruling in Symbol v Lemelson on 9 September that the notorious Lemelson barcode scanning patents, with priority dates going back to 1954 and 1956, were invalid on account of laches (delay) in prosecuting their applications through to grant.

The reason isn't sinister. It's just that he read some pretty good stuff about the ruling when the news broke and didn't feel he really had anything to add.

Recommended reading on this topic is that of fellow blogger Patently-O (with links to the decision and the transcript of the hearing), together with and Pinsent Mason's site. Curiously, The Invent Blog , PHOSITA, The Register and Patent Baristas didn't appear to carry anything on it (unless, reading carelessly, the Kat missed it ..)

Lemelson patents online here
Bar codes here. Bar code art here

2 C&L in review

From time to time the IPKat encounters stray copies of C&L, the monthly magazine of the UK's Society for Computers and Law. This publication has improved greatly over the years in terms of both its content and its increasingly handsome presentation. Unusually among journals in the field, it is printed on heavy, high gloss paper which looks very much as though it's probably coffee-resistant [note: this is one of only a very small number of printed publications on which the IPKat has so far failed to spill his coffee].

Coverage of topics is broad. This means that IP has to vie with rivals such as data protection, insourcing/outsourcing, how computers can help lawyers serve their clients better, consumer protection in online transactions, telecoms convergence and so on.

The August/September issue that the IPKat is currently contemplating has a crisp, short account by Simon Stokes (right) and Sally Hui (Tarlo Lyons) of the Court of Appeal for England and Wales' decision in BHB v William Hill (on how much less protection database right accords than we used to think it did) and another pretty businesslike introduction (suitable for non-Americans) to MGM v Grokster by Berwin Leighton Paisner partner Ian de Freitas.

Join the Society for Computers and Law here
Remove coffee stains here

3 At last: a vested interest

China's state-controlled economy has been heavily criticised for a policy of providing insufficient protection for patents at national level, while conniving at infringements at local level and targeting successful Western products. The IPKat however notes that, according to an article in China View, citing the Shenzhen Daily, there is solid evidence that Chinese companies are now becoming significant intellectual property owners in their own right. This means that those companies, at any rate, have a vested interest in good protection, efficient enforcement and transparent procedures for achieving it.

According to the article Huawei Technologies Co., China's largest telecom gear maker, filed 1,231 patent applications in the first half of 2005, adding its total number of patent applications to 8,000. The Shenzhen-based company already holds 1,425 patents for its products, which cover a variety of product families. Among the 8,000 patent applications, 800 were made abroad in more than 20 countries, including more than 200 applications in the US and Europe.

The company's overseas sales reached US$2.47 billion in the first half of 2005, beating the total for all of 2004 amid a major export drive. Exports made up about 60 percent of Huawei's total sales of 33 billion yuan in the first half of the year, up sharply from the 41 percent of last year's 46 billion yuan in total sales.

The IPKat is oonvinced that the best way to get decent IP protection in China is to show evidence that that country can make as much, if not more, from using the system than from cheating it. Merpel's not so sure: let's watch and wait, she says, and see how China responds once its brands and copyright-protected works also hit the big-time.

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