Never afraid to boast of having friends in High Places, the IPKat is delighted to thank WIPO's Andre Heitz for sending him this link to a pet-scratcher (right), one of two projects selected to receive Boston law firm Fish & Richardson's Patent Awards. The inventors are three high-school girls, Caitlin White, Molly Sullivan and Jamie Dickhaus, who made the device from three pieces of wood and a small swatch of carpet. Said Caitlin: "I'm pretty sure that we didn't spend any money at all. It was just stuff that we found in Jamie's basement". The IPKat is delighted to see how economical inventors can be in their R&D expenditure: it means they have more to spend on legal fees. Merpel is a little sceptical of the validity of this invention: I'd love to see the prior art, she purrs.
Having indulged in a frenzy of deleting things from his computer, the IPKat isn't sure any more who sent him this - though he thinks it might be Jim Davies (Bell Dening). Apparently Nevada has become the latest US state to make it illegal for musicians to make false claims that they are connected to well-known groups.
Left: The IPKat and friends, practising their 'Baby Love' routine
Bands must now call themselves 'tribute' acts, unless they have at least one member historically linked to the original. Mary Wilson of The Supremes (formerly the Primettes, c.1959) lobbied for the law after unsuccessfully suing five other acts performing as the group. Ancient relics of The Drifters, Sha Na Na and other bands have also welcomed the move.
Postgrant is the name of one of the most recent additions to the Intellectual Property Blogosphere. The blog, which you can find here, is written by Virginia law firm Maier & Maier. The IPKat and Merpel, who welcome all forms of IP literature that they don't actually have to pay for, will be watching carefully to see how it grows.
Copyright historians should take a look at Adam Miller's Stamps on Music: the World-wide Catalogue & Handbook of Stamps issued under the Copyright Acts. Adam's home page has lots of data and illustrations of mechanical copyright stamps on old 78 rpm gramophone records; the 240 page book (illustrated, left) lists and illustrates the activities of over 200 stamp-issuers, including the iconic Regal Zonophone (right) - inspiration for the haunting refrain of Procol Harum's classic song Magdalene, my Regal Zonophone. Some heartless folk, the IPKat says, reject the validity of Procol Harum lyrics on the basis that they don't mean anything - but whose heart is so hard as not to be melted by this:
Though I know the night has fallen and the sun's sailed out to seaMerpel says, stick to the IP, IPKat!
I will wait here for the band to play the trumpet voluntary
And with one foot on the seashore and the other in the sand
I will stand here plaiting daisies whilst you play the piano-grand
Caprice, your bugle blew away the cobwebs from my ears
and for once I stood quite naked. Unashamed, I wept the tears
which I tried to hide inside myself from me, I mean from you
but the shame I found too painful and the pain it only grew
Magdalene, my Regal Zonophone