Friday frolics

Who would be your choice of fantasy WIPO director general? It's been a while since the IPKat has changed his Poll (see top of the left hand side bar on the Kat's current page), but this time around he has a critically important question and he'd love your opinion. Since many people have criticised the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) over the years, the IPKat thought it might benefit from a change of image. What better way to achieve this than through appointing as its new Director General a fantasy character with impeccable intellectual property credentials: candidates on offer are James Bond, Mickey Mouse, Shamu, Asterix, Tintin (right), Snow White and The Cat in the Hat (left). Don't forget to vote: the future of IP lies in YOUR hands.

"AGIP Oman Office Temporarily Closed Due to Adverse Weather Conditions": the IPKat received notice yesterday that the Oman office of Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP) has been temporarily closed due to the recent adverse weather conditions in the country. The office will be reopened and fully operational on 16 June 2007.

Right: adverse weather - from Oman to Snowman?

NODUS - the East England-based group of IP enthusiasts which spontaneously erupted into life on World Intellectual Property Day, is holding an event of 12 July 2007 on the theme of "Where do we go from here?" This is a meeting on Thursday, 12 July 2007 at 4pm, held at law firm Freeth Cartwright's head office: Cumberland Court, 80 Mount Street, Nottingham NG1 6HH. Says solicitor Alex Newson:

"The main purpose of the event is to talk about where we take NODUS. We have also secured a speaker from the team promoting Nottingham as a science city - there's a lot of stuff going on with technology in this region that we all ought to know more about: this is a good reason for us as a collective of professionals to work together.

If you are an IP &IT professional based in the East Midlands and would like to attend, please confirm attendance by
emailing Dawn Anderson, who is doing the admin for the event. We are again asking for a £5 contribution from attendees.

Any queries to Dawn but please check this website first - this is how will communicate info primarily to keep the administrative burden to a minimum".

Above, left: The IPKat tried to get the wrinkles out of his £5 contribution, but the iron kept melting the screen of his computer ...

The IPKat's academic colleague and friend Caroline Wilson has sent him this link to an article by Rebecca Armstrong in The Independent on CAPTCHA. It says, in relevant part:

"There's a new way to combat internet fraud, prevent spam and keep online shopping secure. But your first impressions may be that it's not exactly high tech. It takes the form of a simple question: from a gallery of fluffy-animal snaps, can you tell which are cats and which are dogs?

... The dog/cat question is the latest example of a security device called a Captcha, a simple puzzle that usually takes the form of a string of distorted letters and numbers.

Captcha stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. The idea behind a Captcha is that users have to perform a task that is simple for a human but incredibly difficult for a computer. Distorting random letters and numbers makes them confusing to a computer but readable to the human eye. Regular web users will be familiar with Captchas, ... [which] are used as an additional gateway to passwords. ...

But as programs are written that can read heavily distorted codes, the distortions become even
more extreme. And as they do so, some of the Captchas are becoming too tricky for many humans to decipher at first attempt. ...

Right: cat-dog morph from

... Picture recognition is an increasingly popular alternative. People are asked to look at a grid of images and pick the ones that have something in common - straightforward for humans but impossible for computers, as it's difficult for computers to accurately classify images....

Most altruistic is a Microsoft research project called
Asirra - Animal Species Recognition for Restricting Access - that uses pictures of rescue-home dogs and cats from It asks you to click on the cats, rather than the shots of aardvarks, bears and dogs thrown in to baffle the computers. It also helps find homes for domestic animals - each image has a tag reading "adopt me" on it.

Although still in the "beta" testing stage, Asirra ... has the potential to change the way we stay secure online - and give animal lovers everywhere a dose of cuteness".

Wednesday was another big day for the IPKat's weblog: we welcomed 1,497 casual visitors in addition to our 1,046 (free) email subscribers. It was so nearly the magical figure of 1,500 ...

Once again, thank you so much for your interest and support for this blog. We really do appreciate it.

Friday frolics Friday frolics Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, June 15, 2007 Rating: 5

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