For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Friday foibles

Lee Curtis (Pinsent Masons) has told the IPKat about the challenge of Apple Inc. to New York's trade mark application for a "Big Apple" logo. Says the computer company, the logo used by GreeNYC -- an environmental project that will have all cars in New York powered by recycled plastic bags by 2030 (or whatever) -- is closely similar to the emblem it uses on iPhones, iPods and iMac computers. GreeNYC denies infringement.

More on Big Apple here. Giant Peach here. Killer Grapes here.


If you didn't like the way the French Champagne makers kick the rest of the world around, you'll like them even less after reading this story, sent in by Miri Frankel among others.

Right: the French are now planning to sue the Swiss village for wrongfully associating the name CHAMPAGNE with a venereal disease that you can catch from sitting on an infected Canton

It's the sad tale of a Swiss village, also called Champagne, which is apparently being forced to ditch the use of its name on the local red wine that has remained so discreetly hidden beneath the shadow of the better-known bubbly. The villagers have vowed to fight on, maintaining that the French legal position is a load of Bollingers.


Whoever said that patents weren't romantic? Shabtai Atlow took a moment's break from the daily grind of contruing patent claims in order to share with the IPKat a most beautiful thing: a proposal of marriage filed here with the United States Patents and Trademarks Office. Yes, it's United States Patent Application 20070078663 ("Method and instrument for proposing marriage to an individual"). According to the abstract,


"The purpose of this invention is to provide an improved method of proposing marriage to an individual. The method of proposing to an individual generally comprising the steps of meeting the individual; exchanging names with the individual; dating the individual (not necessary); drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual.

Right: "I knew he had designs on me, but I wasn't expecting a proposal in a patent application ..."

The government document may be a patent application. The patent application may claim the method by which the proposor will make a marriage proposal to the individual. The proposor could then use the method claimed in the patent application to propose to the individual. The patent application could be the actual marriage proposal".

The sweetest bit, though, is claim 25:


"The method of claim 1 wherein at least one claim of the offer to marry recites: "Ellie I've been in love with you for the last five years. I've known this since the day we met and the time we've spent together since that day has only made me realize this fact more. You have been by my side in every way a person could possibly hope and I would like nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you please marry me?"".
The IPKat wonders how often applications of this nature have been filed in the past, only to be withdrawn before publication in the light of the prior art.


Space Travel is not a site the Kats individually or collectively visit without due cause, but the IPKat was directed there today by Matthew Coyle-Gilchrist, to inspect a curious item entitled "Boeing Patent Shuts Down AMC-14 Lunar Flyby Salvage Attempt". Efforts to salvage the wayward AMC-14 geostationary communications satellite apparently came unstuck in the face of institutional lack of interest and "an aging patent of questionable validity".

Left: practising the art of being geostationary ...

The satellite ended up just short of its minimum geostationary transfer orbit; SES Americom, who owned it, wanted to salvage it. The company however had to abandon its plan last week because SES is currently suing Boeing in an unrelated New Skies dispute for some US $50 million - and Boeing, which claims to have a crucial patent relating to the salvage method, told SES that the patent was only available if it dropped its lawsuit.

"Industry sources" are quoted as saying that the patent is regarded as legal "trite", as basic physics has been rebranded as a "process", and that the patent wouldn't stand up to any significant level of court scrutiny and was only registered at the time as "the patent office was incompetent when it came to space matters".

Right: the IPKat brings you the latest in geostationery. It may not go very far, but it cuts out all that hassle about the salvage costs

The Kats are wondering about the jurisdictional issues involved here: do Boeing's patents extend to space? Does this apply to all space, or only to the space above those territories in which Boeing holds patents? And would a court have the temerity to grant interim injunctive relief against a salvage operation pending trial of the validity issues?

1 comment:

LawClanger said...

Regarding the jurisdictional aspects of the satellite case, the fact that the satellite itself is in orbit is no more relevant than, say, a ship registered in a particular country being on the high seas. AMC-14 is owned by an American company, and any action taken to salvage it will presumably be undertaken from a control centre in the United States, so US law applies. It's just unfortunate that the US law in question relates to a patent that (in true USPTO fashion) is for something that is unpatentable, obvious and invalidated by extensive prior art.

I've heard the suggestion that what may be at the root of this is that Americom don't really want to salvage AMC-14, as doing so, whilst technically feasible, is likely to leave it in a less-than-ideal orbit and with so little manoeuvring fuel that its working life would be cut short. Better, from their point of view, to have it declared an insurance write-off; a spurious patent dispute may just be a convenient excuse to their insurers.

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