Last week the IPKat's weblog received a very gratifying 6,773 casual visits, in addition to its 1,048 regular email readers and (vast hordes of?) unknown RSS ones. That's our best performance for a single week since the Kat started keeping records. Thanks, all of you, for your continued support.
Have you voted yet for the next Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization? The poll (see left-hand side panel at the to of the IPKat's current page) closes next Thursday. Right now, the Cat in the Hat is in the lead; James Bond and Asterix are slugging it out for second place, but Tintin - still lying fourth - can never be underestimated. Squeaky-clean candidates Snow White and Mickey Mouse have not yet attracted widespread support, which raises questions as to how viable they are when they don't have the backing of the powerful Disney publicity machine. Meanwhile, poor Shamu's campaign seems to be dead in the water ...
Left: Tintin and Snowy rush to do some late campaigning in their author's Belgian heartland - but will Compu-Mark and Bureau Gevers respond to their call?
Cashing in on a luxury lifestyle? This article by Clare Matheson from the BBC's Business pages, was drawn to his attention by his friend Jim Davies (consultant to Bell Dening). The article explains that the Dominion Group has launched the Chic investment fund, which will enable investors to grab a slice over 60 businesses which between them own over 2,300 brands including Miu Miu, Stella McCartney and Ralph Lauren.
Right: a ladies' shiu from Miu Miu
Says Dominion chief executive Alex Bell:
"I was looking for an investor prospectus that was really good and solid and that people could understand, and interesting to both guys and girls".The market for upmarket big brand goods is pretty buoyant right now: according to a recent study it rose 9% in 2006 and forecasts predict further growth of 7.5% this year and 8% in 2008. Competitors have however voiced concerns over how robust the fund may turn out to be.
The IPKat thinks the Chic fund is a great idea. You can spend a fortune on a fashion brand article and then watch it depreciate or fall apart - but if you are effectively buying shares in the brand, you can at least have a prospect of your investment appreciating. Says Merpel, I'm waiting for an investment in cat brands: Jaguar, Puma, Lynx, Hello Kitty ... .
Dangers of mechanical investment decision-making, by a real Kat, here
Gill Grassie (Maclay Murray Spens) was quick off the mark with this item from The Scotsman on the propensity of Kwik-Fit fitters to listen to the radio at full blast while testing car exhausts, fitting tyres and doing other things that Kwik-Fit fitters like to do. The Performing Right Society says this constitutes a performance in public, for which an annual £30,000 licence is needed. The PRS seeks £200,000 damages before the Court of Session, Edinburgh.
Various preliminary issues were discussed in court yesterday, including whether Kwik-Fit workshops are public and whether the company is not liable for its employees' practices since it has adopted a policy of banning radios in the workplace - even if the rule is often ignored by the workers. The IPKat recalls a Finnish Supreme Court majority decision, Teosto v A Taxi Driver  ECDR 3, in which the playing of music by a taxi driver in the course of taking a customer to his destination constituted a performance in public, even though the passenger generally had no say in the choice of music - or whether the taxi driver might be kind enough to turn it off: might the same approach be adopted here, he wonders? Merpel says, if your exhaust is too noisy you can go to Kwik-Fit and get a silencer (left) fitted, so why can't they fit silencers to their radios?
The Kwik-Fit song here