The printed version of the December issue of the Journal of Intellectual Property and Practice (JIPLP) is not yet out, but subscribers who enjoy the online version have been able to read it for some time. One article in this issue -- the Christmas Special feature for 2009 -- is "Knut, Flocke, and Co: the bear facts revealed", by JIPLP editorial board member and Class 46 team blogger Birgit Clark (Boult Wade Tennant). The abstract of this article gives some clues as to its content:
"Legal context: It appears that Germans just cannot get enough of their bears these days, whether it is cuddly Knut, Berlin zoo's celebrity polar bear with a Vanity Fair magazine cover, cute Flocke, Nuremberg zoo's polar bear cub with her own website and marketing machine, or little Wilbär, their understated polar bear cousin from the Stuttgart zoo. In the context of marketing the birth of high-profile zoo animals, some interesting legal issues arise.You can access this article here as a free gift from Oxford University Press.
Key points: The article aims to give an account of how the Germanic bear craze started and looks at the marketing and merchandise machinery involved. In particular, it discusses the trade mark disputes over polar bear cub Flocke, as decided by the Regional Court of Nuremberg-Fürth in March 2008, and the trade mark dispute over Austrian panda bear cub Fu Long.
Practical significance: The article examines some of the trade mark law issues surrounding the marketing of the birth of high profile zoo animals. It examines the financial worth of polar bear trade marks, the perils of public naming campaigns, and shows how serious problems can result from not taking trade mark protection seriously at an early stage".
Although IPKat team member Jeremy may be biased, being its editor, he reckons that JIPLP is brilliant value for money and he's delighted to publish articles like this. Meanwhile, the hunt for the 2009 Christmas Special begins ...