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Wednesday, 10 January 2007

PIIPA strikes again!


PIIPA strikes again!

Steven C. Price has just sent the IPKat a link to the January 2007 Newsletter of PIIPA - Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors, Inc. This organisation finds free (pro bono) intellectual property assistance for developing countries and nonprofit organisations with a public service mission. Steven is PIIPI's CEO/President, but the IPKat won't hold that against him.

On page two of the Newsletter the IPKat found this:

"International Alpaca Association (IAA) Opposes U.S. Certification Mark Registration

The IAA is a private-sector non-profit association based in Peru. It represents individual breeders and companies processing or commercializing fiber from alpacas, llamas, other South American camelidae and their hybrids.

PIIPA’s IP Corps members are assisting the IAA in legal actions to oppose an application by a U.S. farm to register “Alpacamark” as a certification mark in the U.S. According to Ms Claudia Fernandini, representing the IAA in Peru, the association has been using such a mark for the alpaca fiber industry for many years, even though it is not registered as a certification mark in the U.S. She noted that a successful registration of the certification mark by the U.S. farm in question could prevent the IAA from using its own ‘Alpacamark’ in the U.S. Consequent problems in exporting to the U.S. will impact the entire alpaca industry in Peru, whose exports generate income for some of the poorest communities in isolated areas of the Andes.

The legal argument made on behalf of the IAA by PIIPA’s IP Corps members in the U.S. is that “Alpacamark” is generic or descriptive, and that no one entity should have exclusive rights to the mark for certifying alpaca goods. Rather, the mark should be in the public domain for use by anyone to certify alpaca goods where legitimate. The IAA stated in its impact assessment that it would not have been possible for them as a non-profit organization to oppose the registration in the U.S. without the pro bono assistance provided by PIIPA. In the long term, successful opposition will help promote socially responsible business dealings with developing countries".

Right: a genetically-modified "killer alpaca", with Rottweiler genes, contemplates eating an unwary cameraman

The IPKat is most impressed. He hopes that, once the Alpacamark is liberated, PIIPA will turn its attention to the liberation of 'Paddington', once the name of an area of West London that was free for all to use, but now appropriated by a marauding Peruvian bear. Merpel adds, "take a look at the Alpacamark. Doesn't it remind you a little of the fabled Loch Ness Monster?" (right).

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