Smash hit for Volvo?
The IPKat's New York friend Miri Frankel sent him this link to a piece in the New York Times by Stuart Elliott.
Microsoft Xbox has created for Volvo a new interactive game called 'Volvo Drive for Life', which serves as a showcase for the Volvo nameplate, three Volvo models and the longtime Volvo brand identity as the car designed with safety foremost. Unlike most racing video games, which reward players for speed, 'Volvo Drive for Life' encourages them to proceed judiciously by taking them through a training course at the Volvo proving grounds in Gothenburg, Sweden, before sending them out on famous highways to drive while avoiding accidents. This video game, which has an initial run of about 100,000 copies, also includes a "greatest hits" collection of film from actual crash tests (Volvo was once famous for its advertisements involving test crash dummies).
'Volvo Drive for Life' is said to be an example of a growing trend known as advergaming, which brings together marketers and game makers in an effort to encourage consumers to spend time playing with their advertising material. The advergaming trend includes producing games that are played online or downloaded to a player's computer, like those for Life Savers candy and the Orbitz travel service, as well as those that are played on video game systems sold by Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.
The IPKat just loves the idea. Whether it makes people love Volvo or loathe it, there's just a chance that someone might get the idea that it's a good idea to drive safely. Now, if that's a brand message that gets through to consumers ...
Test Crash Dummies here and here
Nepal signs up for Berne Convention
The mountain kingdom of Nepal has announced that, with effect from 6 January 2006, it will be a fully-functioning member of the Berne Union. This is bad news for all international copyright infringers who have, up till now, been routinely pillaging Nepalese copyright works without fear of retaliatory litigation. Nepal now becomes the 160th member of to ratify the Berne Convention.
Nepalese authors project here
Nepal art and prints here
Smokers fume over rumbled tax-dodge
Another IPKat friend, European Patent Attorney Edward Tomlinson (Frohwitter) has drawn his attention to a somewhat unusual use of patent applications, buried in para.19 of Case C-197/04 Commission v Germany. What he found there was a reference to Reemtsma's (West) patent PCT application WO0249462:
"As regards the application of the relevant provisions as defined above to the product ‘West Single Packs’, the Commission refers to the international patent application for ‘West Single Packs’ (published in accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty under the title ‘fine cut unit pack’). According to that document, it is a product which offers consumers a straightforward means of easily making their own cigarettes, which are comparable in every respect to industrially-manufactured cigarettes, and which also benefit from the lower rate of tax on fine-cut tobacco. Therefore, the Commission considers that the criteria for the application of Article 4(1)(b) of Directive 95/59 are met in this instance and that the products concerned, such as ‘West Single Packs’, must be classified in the category of cigarettes".This just goes to show, the Kat's informant observes, that some patentees risk including too much information in their patent specification.