More than one IPKat reader has been anxiously asking him about the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon on the names of European institutions. Are we going to have to plough thousands of tons of stationery, livery and souvenir t-shirts which have the word "Community" on them, replacing it with the word "Union" on every occasion? The IPKat hopes not. While the Commission of the European Communities will be renamed the European Commission -- which is what many of us have been calling it for years -- the only other changes that will significantly affect/inconvenience the IP community will be having to remember to call the Court of Justice of the European Communities the Court of Justice of the European Union and to practise saying the General Court in place of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities. The Kats don't think that the Community trade mark, design and plant varieties rights are about to be unionised, but they thought they'd check with their readers just in case.
On the subject of names, the Kats have received much correspondence on the universally unpopular renaming of English football team Newcastle United's St James Park Stadium as the sportsdirect.com @St James' Park Stadium. It is not for the Kats to pour scorn on renaming activities when angry consumers (and, in the case of sports, loyal supporters) do it so much better, but let's just say that they are not unsympathetic to the complaints: there are some things you don't do, even for money. Will we be treated to Theroyals@buckinghampalace Palace ...? Merpel says, nothing is sacred: that's why we've been lumbered with LexisNexis Butterworths, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Uncletomcobblyandall ...
A popular subject among readers this week has been the Interlocutory Decision of the European Patent Office's Enlarged Board of Appeal of 16 October 2009 in Case G 0003/08, as to whether Dai Rees should be barred from participating in its keenly-awaited referral of several questions raised by the President of the EPO on Computer Implemented Inventions.
"2.4 According to established case law of the Boards of Appeal, of the Enlarged Board and also of national courts of member states, the mere fact that a board member has expressed a view on the legal issue to be decided on a previous occasion, be it in a prior decision or in literature, be it in a prior position in the EPO or as an expert for external political institutions, cannot lead to the conclusion of doubts as to impartiality. Nor does a purely subjective impression that the opinions of a board member might be disadvantageous to a particular interest justify an exclusion".
The IPKat's ever-enthusiastic friend and patent buddy Joe Scott has been telling him all about the new tool he has released to help Patent Buddy members make the most of their IPR network. He writes:
"Anyone registered with any patent authority in the world can join at no charge and open a Biz Dev Dashboard. When they select the Who Knows Who tab they can enter the [Name] of a USPTO-registered attorney or agent to see two levels of their network: Co-Workers and People Who They May Know. From a business development standpoint, this is really handy when you are looking for an introduction to a counsel at a particular law firm, company or university. Selecting the Co-workers link will display a list of who is currently working with [Name]. Selecting the People [Name] May Know link returns a drop down menu showing, by Co-worker, all of the attorneys & agents that they, in turn might know".He adds:
"I entered the name of my patent attorney and was shown a list of his 77 co-workers. Selecting his first co-worker's name returned a list of 76 other contacts from ten law firms and 12 companies. I would guess that his second-level network would total 500+ connections".It occurs to the IPKat that this tool has at least one handy use: you can find out if a USPTO-registered patent attorney is working for one of your competitors and save both him and you the time and effort of initiating a possible client relationship that's never going to happen.