For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Letter from AmeriKat II: Bits 'n' Baubles

• Microsoft’s Bing Attacked: Bing Information Design, a small Missouri company, filed a trade mark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Microsoft in a St. Louis circuit court last week. The design company offers computer-related illustrations and services and has used the name “Bing” since 2000. In May of this year, the company applied to register “Bing!” as a trade mark. The USPTO initially refused the application, giving the company six months to file supporting documentation. Microsoft, meanwhile, had applied for a trade mark two months earlier in March for the mark “Bing” (sans the exclamation mark). A Microsoft spokesperson stated that “We believe this suit to be without merit and we do not believe there is any confusion in the marketplace with regard to the complainant’s offerings and Microsoft’s Bing product.” For more information see this article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

• Monsanto To Let it Grow: In 2014 Monsanto’s patent for Roundup soybean seeds will expire – the first patent expiration on a widely used bioengineered crop. Last week Monsanto sent letters to seed companies and farmers saying that it would allow farmers to continue to grow the Roundup Ready 1 soybeans even after the patent expires. The letter came after previous impressions that Monsanto planned to force farmers to begin using the more expensive Roundup Ready 2 Yield which is under patent. Monsanto’s letters come as the Justice Department has launched an investigation into possible antitrust concerns in the company – concerns which the company states are baseless. The AmeriKat thanks Stephen Kissock for bringing this excellent article in the New York Times to her attention.

• Arretez! Google Loses in France: A French civil court fined Google 300,000 Euros last week for infringing copyright in books by placing them online without permission and ordered them to stop scanning French copyright books. The 2006 action was brought by publisher La MartinĂšre on behalf of French publishers. "This should serve as a real wake-up call for Google, and will no doubt give ideas to other countries who take copyright seriously," said Yann Colin, a lawyer for the publishers. Google said that it plans to appeal the decision. For more information see this article in Bloomberg and this article in the LA Times.

• USPTO creates an App for Pending Apps: The USPTO announced last week that it in effort to reduce patent pendency and increase transparency the USPTO has created an interactive Patent Pendency Model (PPM). According to the USPTO press release, the PPM “enables users to see how both first action and overall patent pendency periods are affected by changes in staffing and filing levels.” The tool, available online, will help users estimate pendency periods using “historical data to make calculations and create graphs of predicted outcomes.” Excel spreadsheets, graphs, and patent pendency – what more could the AmeriKat want for Christmas?! To entertain your friends and family this holiday season please click here to access the PMM.

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