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, 5 December 2011

Monday miscellany Part I

The IPKat's whiskers make useful radio antennae sometimes, which is how he has learned that BBC4's Today radio programme has asked for an interview this very morning with his good friend Vicki Salmon. Vicki -- a solicitor, patent attorney and chairman of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys' Litigation Committee -- is scheduled for 8.40am. If you miss it, you may be able to catch it here.  The rumour in the corridors of the Beeb is that Vicki might be a good person to ask about unitary patent things, not excluding the Unified Patent Court itself ...


A word of gratitude.  The IP Publishers and Editors Lunch takes place this Wednesday, 7 December, at the lovely London office of Olswang LLP from 12.30pm to 2.30pm (this is a reminder to those who are coming, since the event is now virtually full).  The IPKat would like to thank a number of donors for their support, of whom only one so far -- Edward Elgar Publishing -- has agreed to be named as a supporter (click here to check out publications in the fields of intellectual property, innovation, economics and all sorts of other things).


At last week's TIPLO Dinner at the House of Lords, it was announced that the IPKat's friend Renate Siebrasse was stepping down from that organisation's administration, to the needs of which she has devoted her care and attention since its inception. Renate remains a Vice President but will hand over the day-to-day management to Nicola Miller.  All the Kats wish Nicola the best of luck in her new role and hope that Renate will continue to make her own unique contributions to this unique body.


China patent diplomacy:
no mincing of words ...
All roads lead to Rome China. China has been in the news of late, for various IP-related reasons. First, the US-China Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot was launched last Thursday, 1 December, following the signing of a Joint Statement of Intent back in November. The plan was to launch not one but two new PPH programmes, which will apply to qualifying patent applications filed under both the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property (“Paris Route”) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The scheme is intended "to promote high quality patents and expedite processing of patent applications in both offices by avoiding duplicative work", not to mention greater costs-savings for patent applicants. The second piece of news is that "in an unprecedented move to eliminate linguistic barriers in public access to patent information", the European Patent Office (EPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) have signed an agreement to work together to assure that, by next year, automatic Chinese-English machine translation tools for patents are available to the public, online and free of all charges. Patent purists will be delighted that, to the extent that these tools enable non-Chinese patent applications to be measured against the burgeoning Chinese prior art, granted patents might just be of rather better quality ["You mean", says Merpel, "that little bit less open to a fatal challenge ...?]. Further details here.


New blogger on the block.  It has come to this Kat's attention that Baroness Wilcox (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills) has entered the blogosphere as a contributor to the UK government's BIS Blog ("Official blog from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills where Ministers, policymakers and guest bloggers share and discuss their work and ideas" [Their ideas, snorts Merpel. What about our ideas?]).  The good Baroness's first post is on "Valuing Brands" and she writes:
"Brands are worth a great deal to the economy so it’s vital that companies know the importance of protecting their intellectual property, particularly their trade marks and designs".
Well, that's a good start.  This Kat hopes that his new blogging colleague will be campaigning for a better environment for those companies that do know the importance of protecting their IP will be better able to do so.  The  recently announced small claims procedure looks like an encouraging step in the right direction; let's hope for further initiatives with the same aim.


Around the blogs.  In this week's Afro-IP visit in search of national IP office websites, Kingsley Egbuonu brings positive news from Kenya, where it seems that there is not only life online but also a presence on the social media.  The jiplp weblog features the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice's December editorial on aspirational branding and urban looting.  PatLit hosts the maiden post from its new blog team member David C. Berry on some forthcoming patent cases coming before the US Supreme Court. Ben Challis (1709 Blog) reports on the highly permissive Swiss position on downloads and copyright.  After IPCom issued an upbeat media release on its recent German litigation with HTC, Nokia has issued its own third-party riposte. Both are recorded in PatLit (here and here).


For 99 cents you can enjoy
a Flight of Fancy.  It costs more
than that to re-spray infringing
aeroplanes ...
Not taking "no" for an answer. After Mr Justice Vos gave judgment in United Air Lines Inc v United Airways Limited and United Airways Bangladesh Limited (unreported, but noted here by the IPKat), the good judge refused permission to appeal on the basis that this was about the most irresistible application for summary judgment for trade mark infringement and passing off as you could hope to find, even taking into account the defendants' submissions in their skeleton argument. The unsuccessful defendants were reluctant to take "no" for an answer, applying to the Court of Appeal for both for permission to appeal and for a stay of execution.  A paper application was first made to Lord Justice Mummery in October. He refused the application in plain terms: “the proposed appeal ... has no real prospect of success on the basis of the submissions in the skeleton argument .... I agree with the judgment of Vos J.” End of story? No. The defendants applied for an oral hearing of this decision, possibly thinking that the Court of Appeal might be having a Random Decision Day.  This application was also refused, Mummery LJ saying he thought that “this was a pretty open and shut case” [When I fly United, Merpel chips in, I hope my case stays shut till I get it home ..], again refusing both permission to appeal and a stay of execution. The Kat thanks his friend Isabel Davies (Boyes Turner) for this snippet of news.


The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) IPR Division has recently launched a three-month Online Certificate Course on Intellectual Property. The idea is to develop awareness about IPR and build a pool of IP professionals whose knowledge and services will benefit industry at large. The last date for registration and receipt of fees for this course is 20 December 2011. The course commences on 1 January 2012. For details of course content, eligibility and so on, visit www.ficciipcourse.in or email  ipcourse@ficci.com for the personal touch.

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