Earlier this year Roya Ghafele, who is now with the University of Oxford Department of International Development, produced a paper for the Intellectual Property Institute entitled Perceptions of Intellectual Property: a Review. This paper makes depressing reading for people who love IP, since it reflects the many criticisms -- whether founded or otherwise -- that are made of IP by some of its most vocal critics, many of whom literally rage against intellectual property. You can download it from the Institute for free: just click here. The Kats can tell you that there's more to come, in the form of the Brand IP project: watch this space for further details as they emerge.
The IPKat thanks his friend Kaori Minami for sending him news of the latest Japan Patent Office prosecution through its 'Super accelerated examination' system. According to Japan Today Keio University (where Kaori studied) received a patent for a process for detecting toxic metals following a screening process that took just 17 days. You can read more about speedy Japanese patents here.
Left: Japanese patent examiners can now transfer an application from formalities examination to prior art search in 3.7 seconds.
Via another of the IPKat's friends Kristof Neefs comes news on Ars Technica of two German court rulings that Google thumbnail images infringe copyright. Since there is no duty on owners of copyright images to let search engine indexing robots know what files to avoid, the need to avoid infringing copyright rests firmly on Google's shoulders. These rulings are both subject to appeal. If the law stays as it is, Google may have to withdraw or radically restructure its Google Image service in so far as it is available in Germany (after receiving this item, the IPKat also received this version of it from Birgit Clark, in respect of whom please see the item below).
The IPKat is certainly not short of quality informants these days: another excellent link has arrived from the IPKat's friend and Class 46 blogger Birgit Clark. This item chronicles the sad little spat between the owners of the X Factor and a satirical musical, The eXtra Factor, which was part-way through a UK theatre tour when it received a cease and desist letter that alleged that the show's name and format infringed the X Factor's copyright. The eXtra Factor has been taken off but with the promise that it will be relaunched following a rebranding exercise. Strange, says the IPKat: I never knew there was copyright in a name. Stranger still, says Merpel, I never knew there was copyright in a programme format. The Kats wondered whether trade mark infringement and passing off might possibly have been more appropriate causes of action.
Just over a year ago the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office changed its practice regarding relative grounds objections: in short, instead of examiners raising relative grounds issues ex officio, they now notify the owners of earlier registrations on the existence of a possibly conflicting application, leaving them to decide whether they are sufficiently affected by the application to oppose it or to seek an amicable resolution of any possible conflicts through discussion and coexistence agreements.
Left: new technology enables UK trade mark examiners to examine both the aural and the visual impact of a mark upon the relevant consumer.
In the light of the past year's experience the UK-IPO's Allan James says:
"the rate of opposition in the UK is now less than 6% of published applications, just over twice the pre-relative grounds change rate and only a fifth of the rate of overall objections (including official objections) prior to the change. There has been no increase in invalidity applications. Where a response is received to the opposition (about 60%), the number going into cooling off is twice the number filing an immediate defence. This is a reversal of the position before the relative grounds change, so there seems to be plenty of potential use for a co-existence agreement".