For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday miscellany

Around the blogs 1. While last week's rejection of the Google Settlement by Judge Denny Chin received plenty of airing (see IPKat here, 1709 Blog here), the Chet Baker Class Action in Canada is worth taking a look it. The IPKat's friend Howard Knopf explains the story so far in characteristically forthright fashion on Excess Copyright here.  There's also a neat Current Intelligence note by the perceptive Enrico Bonadio (City Law School, London) on the Advocate General's Opinion on what counts as "communication to the public" in the joined cases of Football Association Premier League v QC Leisure, YouTube and Karen Murphy v Media Protection Services Ltd (Joined Cases C-403/08 and C-429/08), which the Court of Justice is going to decide this summer.

Around the blogs 2. For those who want to read something truly frightening and/or depressing, there's Neil Wilkof's account on IP Finance of TiVo's plan to finance its patent litigation through convertible bonds.  Almost as threatening, if it wasn't so much fun, is Mikk Putk's IPInsiders' post here, this being his "Collection of amazing patent and trademark infographics".  Oh, and let's return briefly to the 1709 Blog:


While the United States has its Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC: here, with links to earlier posts), most of Europe seems to be missing the point, assuming that the way to deal with the big anti-counterfeiting issues is for more pan-European cooperation between OHIM and national offices. It's actually cooperation and coordination at national levels which is needed, since it's at national levels that (i) counterfeiters are prosecuted, (ii) fines are levied and imprisonment ordered, (iii) procedural and substantive defences and loopholes exist and (iv) distributors and consumers buy, sell and use fakes. That's why the IKPat was greatly heartened to read this small item on the OHIM website, "Anti-counterfeiting commission for Slovak Republic", which reports that the Slovak Republic has adopted a proposal for the establishment of an inter-institutional Commission to coordinate the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. With the country's Industrial Property Office in the driving seat, the Commission, which became operational on 16 March, will steer the activities of "all the main government ministries ..., including justice and prosecution as well as finance, economy, agriculture, health, culture, interior and foreign affairs".  Just think of all those damaged egos which result from having to cooperate with other government departments rather than ruling over one's own little ministerial domain, says Merpel -- who hopes that this experiment will be closely monitored: if it shows any sign of success it might prove a handy template for other European countries (and beyond) to follow.


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Knut is dead, but long live ..?  Readers of this weblog and Class 46 will probably have had more news of the interface between polar bears and intellectual property rights than patrons of other IP weblogs. If they thought that the subject stream was going to dry up with the sad death of Knut (see obituary here), they were wrong.  On the right, or on the right of the left to be more precise, is not Mishka because he is a polar bear -- but is he an infringing one?  Those with exceptionally long memories will recall that Russian artist Viktor Chizhikov created the Mishka bear cub (above left, left) for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Anyway, last month, during a live national television broadcast, the Russian public chose three mascots – a rabbit, a leopard and the polar bear depicted here, who is alleged by Chizhikov to infringe the earlier mascot: “It’s exactly the same as mine: the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the smile, though it’s askew. I don’t like it when people steal, the author always feels it especially painfully”.  The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee has released a statement denying copyright infringement accusations (information kindly supplied by Petosevic, here). The IPKat is not intimately acquainted with the Russian law, but he wonders whether any attempt by Chizhikov to sell genuine Mishkas in 2014 would be deemed an infringement of the Sochi Organizing Committee's Special All-Powerful Olympic Rights, or perhaps it would be some form of ambush marketing?   Merpel thinks it's high time that Olympic rights were brought back down to earth: no event needs greater protection than do ordinary IP owners, with all the checks and balances which IP rights contain.


... and talking of ordinary IP rights, check and balances, a fascinating glimpse into the global future of trade marks online can be seen here, in 'Trademarks and the Internet', a document prepared by the Secretariat of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications which is discussing it this week. The current WIPO process (which is actually quite tame and is more directed at clarifying frameworks for resolving disputes than in actually directing how they should be resolved) has attracted the ire of Boingboing's Cory Doctorow here, which makes salutary reading for anyone who believes that a huge gulf does not exist between those who see the value of IP as a basis for protecting investment and creativity and those who don't (thank you, Mike Lynd, Mars & Clerk, for the links).

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