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.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Monday miscellany

Apologies, but it wasn't our fault! Many thousands of eager readers were recently deprived of access to the latest posts on the weblogs of the IPKat and his friends. This was not on account of any outrageous message from Merpel bringing the wrath of Google down upon the IP blogosphere but rather a case of data corruption during the course of "routine maintenance work".  Merpel says, have you noticed the similarity of the words "outage" and "outrage"? Is there perchance some connection?


INTA 2011. Three members of the IPKat blogging team (Jeremy, Neil and Annsley) are currently attending the 133rd Meeting of the International Trademark Association in San Francisco.  It is likely that you will be hearing something from one or more of them from time to time.  The meeting concludes on Wednesday, but it usually takes anyone who attends it a day or two to recover -- but we'll try to do our best to keep up a decent flow of news, views and comments.


The Sunday of INTA is a strange day.  Although the formal Welcome Ceremony takes place on Monday morning, many participants have been in town since before the weekend, whether to recover from the jetlag, to get some extra networking in or to attend the advanced mediation training programme.  By Saturday the academic course on trade mark law has commenced and the Gala dinner is consumed. On Sunday the main body of rank-and-file participants arrive and registers while two of the focal points for the next few days -- the exhibit hall and the reception area -- are open for use.  This Kat put in a 14-hour day, meeting professional and academic colleagues, journal contributors, former students and friends and also attending several receptions.


Moscone Center West: one million
square feet -- and several thousand
sore feet ...
Early impressions.  Each INTA Meeting has its own dynamic and its unique flavour. So far, it's a bit early to summarise this year's.  However, without sight of any official figures this Kat feels that both the overall attendance and the number of exhibitors is lower this year than last.  He also wonders whether the overseas and foreign visitors constitute a higher proportion of the total than in recent years in which the event has been held in the US -- though it may be that local participants don't feel the need to arrive as early as their non-US counterparts. Another early impression is that there is no single major issue that is preoccupying people with whom he has been talking. This may reflect the fact that there are now so many different interests reflected within the Meeting, as diverse as anti-counterfeiting, portfolio management and good housekeeping and improving the performance of the Madrid system, that dominant themes should not be expected to emerge.


Scandalous and immoral!
Warming the heart.  One thing this Kat likes about the INTA is the constant influx of young blood, the wide-eyed juniors of today who will be the leaders, the idea-generators and the decisive actors of the future.  The eagerness to listen and to learn, the excitement and the enthusiasm of the trade mark community's younger members is a precious asset which should never be taken for granted.  And at the other end of the scale, it's good to see how INTA's senior members so willingly give their time and share their expertise with others. This Kat's heart was therefore warmed to see that his old friend Jerome Gilson, now 80, is still going strong.  Together with his daughter Anne Gilson LaLonde, Jerome has just produced a fascinating little booklet, Trademarks Laid Bare: Marks That May be Scandalous or Immoral, which comes with an offensive content warning but which sufficiently unshockable INTA attendees may be able to pick up from the LexisNexis exhibit booth.  If there are any other active octogenarians present at the Meeting, this Kat will be pleased to give them a mention.


Not every jurisdiction in the world has a provision in its trade mark law that is as curious as Article 10 of Regulation 207/2009 on the Community trade mark which reads:
"Reproduction of Community trade marks in dictionaries

If the reproduction of a Community trade mark in a dictionary, encyclopaedia or similar  reference work gives the impression that it constitutes the generic name of the goods or services for which the trade mark is registered, the publisher of the work shall, at the request of the proprietor of the Community trade mark, ensure that the reproduction of the trade mark at the latest in the next edition of the publication is accompanied by an indication that it is a registered trade mark."
In the course of a bar-side chat at one of the INTA receptions, the question arose as to whether any Community Trade Mark Court has been required to rule on this provision. In particular, has any injunction or award of damages been made? And, if so, what is the measure of the damages, given that the reason why a dictionary or other reference work would describe or define a word as being generic is very probably because, to all intents and purposes, it is.


EPO, ITU.  The IPKat reads with interest that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have signed an agreement -- the first that the ITU has ever signed with a patent office -- which "will help create the right balance between the interests of all relevant stakeholders, including patent holders, implementers of the standard, and end-users while seeking to enable solutions to market-driven needs on a global basis". The IPKat has no idea what this means. He is equally in need of an explanation of the following:
"In order to minimize this risk of conflict and to assure a smooth and wide dissemination of standardized technology, ITU together with World Standards Cooperation (WSC) partners ISO and IEC established a joint patent policy in 2007. The common policy provides reassurance to industry that its interests are protected when sharing intellectual property with implementers of standards. It also ensures that patents embodied into ITU standards are accessible to everyone without undue constraints".
Perhaps this Kat is mixing in the wrong circles, but he has never met anyone from industry who has even mentioned this common policy in the context of seeking reassurance from the ITU and others that his company's interests are protected when sharing IP with implementers of standards, or indeed in any other context.  He suspects that a good deal of work has gone into all of this and notes that, while we are dealing with monopolies and agreements to share them, there doesn't appear to be any mention of consultation or agreement with the competition authorities.  Can some kind reader please enlighten him?


Around the blogs. "Google's universal digital library dream is shattered" is the theme of this analytical piece by Giovanna Occhipinti Trigona for the jiplp weblog.  You can read Ben Challis's take on the US$ 105 million LimeWire settlement on the 1709 Blog here.  Keith Mallinson argues that there is no evidence of windfall gains" by patent owners impeding the adoption of any technology-based standard on IP Finance here. The capping of the winning party's costs in Patents County Court proceedings in England and Wales is reviewed by the Bright Spark and IP Draughts (as well as by the IPKat here). There's also a new blog on the block: Patexia.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

grrr.. i read your tweet about INTA being the woodstock of the IP community, and now this song is stuck in my head

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrWNTqbLFFE

Jeremy said...

Never mind CSNY -- the real version of Woodstock is that of its composer, Joni Mitchell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NquX-YtCUJI

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