This week there are several new events listed in the IPKat's superbly-updated 'Forthcoming Events' feature, which occupies a large slice of space on the left-hand side-bar of this weblog's front page. The number of events currently listed is 31. FREE events are listed in a cheerful blue.
Congratulations to the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) for issuing this excellent leaflet that advises on how to be on your guard against fakes this Christmas, together with accompanying posters. Not just IP owners but trading standards officers, organisers of street markets and car boot sales, and indeed retailers of genuine products -- every one of these should be displaying this well-produced, readable and textually credible material where it might be read by the counterfeiters' best friend and constant ally, the shopper. Since the Credit Crunch may be a big spoiler for many people's Winterval celebrations this year, the temptation to fake it may be great, so warnings of this kind are particularly necessary.
Meanwhile, Merpel has been doing some swift research into the Credit Crunch. The UK IPO trade mark search facility reveals that Andrew Petit's CREDIT CRUNCHERS awaits advertisement in Class 29 (potato crisps), getting in just one day ahead of Frito-Lay's WALKERS CREDIT CRUNCH for the same goods in the same class (well done, Andrew!). However, Captain Beany (left) already registered CREDIT CRUNCH for chocolates in Class 30 on 4 July, three and a half weeks ahead of Sheridan Simove's application in respect of breakfast cerials in Class 30. Finally, Mr Narm Bari Osborn of Rochester, Kent, has applied to register CREDITCRUNCHFLIGHTS for various services in Classes 38 and 39. Psst! says the IPKat, wanna buy a second-hand coexistence agreement ...?
Who says the age of romance is dead? In a decision (case reference 21 O 3262/08) of 13 November 2008 (which is not yet final) the Regional Court of Munich I (Landgericht Muenchen I) decided that a lonely hearts ad can be protected by copyright law. The question was raised in a lawsuit between two dating agencies, which both specialised in wealthy high society clients. When perusing the advertisements of its competitor dating agency B, the claimant in the proceedings, dating agency (A) came across a lonely hearts ad for two clients, which the claimant not only identified as relating to two of its own (former) millionaire clients but which also seemed to be almost identical copies of the ads that agency A had penned and published to market these two particular clients. The only apparent difference was that one of the clients was one centimetre shorter in the allegedly copied ad. The claimant was not pleased that it had lost the client and was even more incensed by the plagirism of its ads. As such it consulted a lawyer and sent a cease and desist warning (Abmahung) to B. In the current proceedings the claimant sought to recoup the attorney's costs, which had been incurred by the cease and desist warning. In the course of the proceedings both parties argued as to whether the defendant, agency B had indeed copied agency A's ads. The defendant stressed that a description of identical people obviously had to result in a similar ad text. The parties also disagreed as to whether it should be permissible to copy such texts.
The judges decided in favour of the claimant and ruled that there was not the slightest doubt that the defendant had copied the text. Given the "inexhaustible diversity" of ways to describe an individual in such a lonely hearts ad, the defendant failed to convince the court that it had not copied the texts, only making very minor amendments. The court further decided that the lonely hearts ad in question was protectable under copyright law. The court was of the view that the lonely hearts ads showed an indivudual creative effort/labour in the way the ads' style and phrasing was tailored to its elitist client base. The court disagreed with the defendant that the description of the individual was already more or less predetermined. Such a predetermined description might - by way of example - be true for a vacuum cleaner but this did not apply in relation to an individual. The court further stressed that describing an individual not only used the "nearly inexhaustible diversity" of language but also allowed to "accentuate the whole spectrum of human perception". Furthermore, the selection of character traits and their linguistic implementation in the lonely hearts ad reflected an individual creative effort/labour on the side of the claimant. Thanks, Birgit Clark (who else?) for this fascinating item.
London-based solicitors Olswang held their second Open Source Summit last week, which was by all accounts a huge success. If you'd like to see the programme, it's here, and the slides are here. If you'd like further information -- or just want to record an interest in any future Open Source Summits, email Jeremy here.
Another blog-related milestone has been reached by Afro-IP, the intellectual property weblog piloted by IP livewire Darren Olivier and his four colleagues. During the 11 months of its existence this blog has posted well over 400 legal, commercial and political developments involving Africa, from tip to toe of this vast continent. The Afro-IP team is hoping to grow and would dearly like to hear from prospective bloggers who feel that they can handle the challenge, and the commitment, of spreading word about IP developments. The blog is already well covered in terms of South African input, but candidates from other African countries (or from outside Africa but who have inside information) should email Darren here and introduce themselves and tell him what they can do to help with the blog.
It's not yet available on BAILII, but Football Association Premier League Ltd and others v QC Leisure (a trading name) and others has just got a little more complex. Following an application to Mr Justice Kitchin, this case (noted by the IPKat here), which has been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) so that some dreadfully technical questions can be asked, five further parties -- all being one way or other beneficiaries of the current set-up under which football broadcasting rights are partitioned between countries -- sought to be joined as parties to the ECJ reference. Kitchin J allowed them to do so, despite the objections of the defendants. Well done, LexisNexis, for picking this up on its subscription-based service.
Right: The IPKat has discovered one good way of avoiding ECJ references -- wear more stripes than even adidas can lay claim to (cat and other beautiful products available for sale from Andersen Studio).