Since posting Monday's news item on Top Dogs at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), here, the IPKat has received various emails from interested readers wanting to know more about the system for appointing the High and Mighty in European trade mark circles. While he's no great constitutional expert, the Kat can at least answer some of the queries posed:
Q: What actually happens at the Council of Ministers when they receive the nominations -- even if there's just one name put forward? A: At the point at which the nominations are received, the Council members (left) take a relaxing break from the solemn job of ruling Europe, put on their funny hats and, in the case of positions for which there is only a single nomination, apply fresh ink to their rubber stamps. Seriously, every such appoinment is a matter for the Council, since there must be a Council decision before any appointment is confirmed.
Q: Why was there only one name sent forward for some of the posts when the rules provide for "up to three" names to be forwarded to the Council? A: The procedural rules adopted by OHIM's Administrative Board provide that, if a candidate obtains three-quarters of the vote, that person's name is the only one that goes forward. This shows how important it is to have lots of friends on the Administrative Board or, failing that, on the Council of Ministers.
Q: What are the qualifications for the top positions at OHIM? A: Higher than the qualifications for getting on to the Council of Ministers.
The IPKat has learned that his canny friend Mike O'Keeffe (Riskmentor) has won a US$15,000 award from Article One Partners for successfully identifying patent-invalidating prior art on a Ford patent on Start-Stop technology (see press releases here and here). Mike (whose services to the IP public include the thankless chore of peer-reviewing articles for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, JIPLP) explains:
"This is the technology that allows a car to cut-out at traffic lights and restart when the clutch pedal is depressed. Here in Spain there are TV ads for Audi which show a light bulb cruising up to traffic lights and going out while waiting. It's a relatively old technology used by Audi and VW in the 1980s and is used in city buses in Japan where it is termed 'Idle-Stop'".Well done, Mike, says the IPKat, who thinks this shows how well the marketplace can help contribute to the vibrancy of the patent system by creating incentives to weed out those that shouldn't have been there. Merpel says, I'm having some problems getting my head around the idea that something as old and as publicly-used as this should have got as far as a patent grant in the first place.
Around the blogs. "If Google paid us every time we clicked ..." is the title of a very neat piece on the 1709 Copyright Blog by Hugo Cox who observes:
" ... whether publishers own digital rights is a question that can only be determined by detailed contractual analysis. Not only can a single word turn a contract on its head but choice of law leads to different attitudes to digitization: French law is systematic, Germany’s new law is controversially retrospective, New York law and Californian law are a continent apart and English law is a barrister’s field day".Meanwhile on the jiplp blog, London barrister Chris de Mauny (Hogarth Chambers), in "Licensing Lessons", explains how sportswear company Umbro managed to foul up what might otherwise have been a good brand exploitation opportunity by both overcomplicating and under-controlling the relations between two of its licensees.