Getting it back
The IPKat has been reading how UK's Asset Recovery Agency, which has been set up to seize criminals' assets, has cost taxpayers around £60m while only recovering £8m from crminals since 2003. The ARA's Director Jane Earl said she was disappointed with the results but, she says, the ARA had made life harder for criminals:
"Our disruptive action where we have exceeded our targets is playing a big part in making the general landscape much more difficult for criminals to operate in. We are disappointed that cases have not come to fruition as quickly as we had first hoped but we are clear that this is a long haul and we will continue to play a full part in recovering the proceeds of crime".The IPKat says, don't lose hope yet; he was very impressed by the presentations on asset recovery at this year's Anti-Counterfeiting Group conference. He's sure that, if IP infringers repeatedly get the message that they can lose not only their ill-gotten gains but anything they can't explain away legitimately, they'll get the message.
Neelie Kroes in favour of competition
Well she would be, says the IPKat: she is, after all, the EU's Competition Commissioner. Neelie spoke this Monday evening at the Institute of Electrical Engineers where she gave the Competition Law Association's annual Burrell Lecture. Neelie spoke eloquently about the beauty of competition, how it provides opportunities not threats, how wealth is created by businesses not politicians, and so on. Among the areas she mentioned as being in particular of more open competition was the energy sector, where the need to separate out supply from infrastructure was paramount. Telecoms and travel were singled out (doubled out?) for praise, while national-self interest protectionism was roundly condemned: the IPKat thought he spotted a covert allusion to the French resistance to Pepsi's attempts to acquire DANONE. How appropriate that the most potent symbol of French culture is a yoghurt ...
So bewitched was the audience by her combination of charm and force that everyone forgot to wonder why she said almost nothing about intellectual property. There was at least one Kat in the audience who kept wondering how, if we should trust the idea of global champions in the marketplace, for the sake of greater efficiency and lower prices, the EU remains so firmly wedded to the notion of regional exhaustion of intellectual property rights. Merpel adds, what a pity the CLA doesn't get better support for its excellent meetings: they provide a choice forum for some really serious discussion with highly informed and very articulate people.
More on Neelie Kroes here
Another sort of global competition here
How to make yoghurt here
All about Danone here