A highly-respected member of the patent profession within Europe has penned the following missive to the European Patent Office (EPO). The letter, headed "EPO marketing assistance please", reads as follows:
"Dear Sirs,The rubric which accompanies the video describes the EPO Examiner as having provided
I write concerning the involvement of the EPO in promoting Murgitroyd and Company indicated in the video addressed by the link below on their website, referred to in the December CIPA Journal at p792. I note that Mr Yates of the EPO (referred to by Murgitroyd as a "Principle Examiner" (sic)) thanks Murgitroyd for "looking after him", and refers to the great time he is having, inter alia at the ice hockey.
These are tough times in the marketplace, and we all need a competitive edge - official approval and recognition by the EPO would certainly help. I trust such assistance is not limited to Murgitroyd. Could you kindly let me know how the EPO will assist my firm in marketing our own business in these tough times, and how we would be expected to best "look after" the EPO staff concerned?"
"an educational seminar to local IP professionals at the North Carolina Biotech Center. This educational seminar is part of an ongoing series about foreign filing sponsored by Murgitroyd & Company, promoting Murgitroyd IP Portal. Join us via webinar or in person during our next seminar in March 2010 with the Japanese and Taiwanese patent offices".No response has yet been received from the EPO.
The IPKat agrees that these are tough times, and thinks that this email raises serious issues concerning the extent to which public bodies which administer IP rights should be either actively promoting private practice firms or at least appear to do so. Is there a code of conduct -- or should there be one -- concerning such practices and might a client be comforted, when instructing a firm to act on his behalf, that this firm knows how to "look after" the EPO, OHIM, WIPO or any other such institution? Merpel's not so worried: she thinks that it's good for the EPO to be seen to be engaging with the private sector and hopes that it will continue to do so, as long as it spreads its favours. Both Kats wonder what this blog's readers think, and invite their comments. They also wonder what the position of other offices, such as the USPTO, might be. Do tell!