Tuesday, 15 March 2011
The Venn diagram displayed above was pointed out to the IPKat by his friend Pam Chestek, who spotted it on BoingBoing here. Although it demonstrates dramatically the current state of cooperation and alliance between the many countries in Europe, it is by no means the end of the story.
It will be instantly noticed by patent enthusiasts that the European Patent Organisation is not featured. Assuming that the not-quite-Community patent rolls smoothly into reality, the "EU minus Italy and Spain" zone will have to be incorporated too. Trade mark buffs will quickly note the absence of the Benelux, a three-nation zone for some intellectual property rights registration systems
Rather less obviously connected with intellectual property rights systems but of great interest to those whose business models depend upon securing national or regional rights and then exploiting or licensing them more widely are the Eurozones for the purposes of the Eurovision Song Contest and the UEFA Champions League.
The IPKat says this picture shouldn't be taken as a portent of gloom. Go back to 1967, the year when the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the picture is far worse. Europe was divided by an Iron Curtain which is distant history so far as most young IP lawyers are concerned; the European Community mustered just six countries. There was no Schengen, no Eurozone, no Customs Union. It takes time to mend the cracks, but Europe is slowly getting there.