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, 2 January 2012

Monday miscellany

The British Empire may be the stuff that history books are full of and which costume dramas are made of, but at least it has a new Commander -- Nigel Eastaway. This year's British New Years Honours List confirms that Nigel has been awarded the status of CBE -- a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

According to awardsintelligence.co.uk a CBE is awarded for

"• a prominent national role of a lesser degree or
• a conspicuous leading role in regional affairs, through achievement or service to the community or
• making a highly distinguished, innovative contribution in his or her area of activity".
Nigel is one of the founder authors of Intellectual Property Law and Taxation, now in its 7th edition and written together with fellow founder-author Richard Gallafent, plus Victor Dauppe and Jacquelyn Kimber. This Kat still recalls his pleasure and excitement at finding himself reading the first edition, which was both intelligible (itself a remarkable achievement for a book on tax law) and entertaining, with fictional case studies that have probably some value for social anthropologists as well as legal and tax advisers. Merpel adds, it's time we honoured Richard Gallafent too, for Services to British Beards if nothing else. He already has 27 letters after his  name, but we don't think he has reached the limit ...


"If they want to review it, let them buy it first!"
The Age of Ebenezer Scrooge is not dead. As Editor of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP), this member of the IPKat team spends a good deal of time organising and editing book reviews. This service is generally appreciated by readers, who get some idea of what the reviewer thinks of the book before they decide whether to buy it, and by publishers who are grateful for the extra publicity which the publication of the review gives them. Longstanding custom and practice dictates that the publisher furnish a copy (or e-copy, or whatever) gratis, and that the reviewer keeps it as recompense for the effort of evaluating the book and writing the review. Imagine, then, the surprise of the JIPLP editorial team when it wrote off to the publisher of a recent title, The Intellectual Property Valuation Case Law Compendium, and sought a review copy and received the following response:
"Thank you for your interest. We do not offer our books on a review basis. We do offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Thank you,
[name withheld, to spare embarrassment]
Customer Service"
This Kat, for one, is unimpressed. No journal is likely to pay to review new IP books for the benefit of their publishers.  He wonders whether any other publishers are taking this line. Do please let him know!


The IPKat didn't realise how many of his readers perused The Telegraph until he received a barrage of emails encouraging him to post something on "Stilton villagers banned from using own name on cheese This post explains that
"Villagers are being forced to come up with a new title for the blue-veined cheese following a “ridiculous” ruling that prevents it officially being made outside three East Midlands counties.
The cheese – being sold by a local pub for the first time early next year – is now to be named “Bell Blue” while locals battle to have the ban overturned. 
Liam McGivern, landlord of the Bell Inn, which is behind the move, said the rules meant they could not call it Stilton but could produce packaging saying “blue-veined cheese made in Stilton”. 
"Anyone can make the cheese but they won't let us call it Stilton," he said. "We are going to challenge the [ruling] – that's the whole reason for making the cheese.” ...
 The Stilton Cheese Makers Association claim that there is no relationship between the original version and the blue Stilton produced in modern times, which is a semi-soft cheese famed for its strong smell and taste.
In 1996, the association successfully sought a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) order – a European Union ruling that prevents it being produced outside the three counties....

However, local historian Richard Landy challenged this ruling after finding evidence that the cheese was first created in Stilton ...".
Hard cheese, says a most unsympathetic Merpel. The PDO doesn't prevent Stilton cheese being produced outside the three counties: it merely prevents it being called Stilton. Just as individuals can lose the right to use their names as trade marks when they assign the right to trade under their own name to someone else, so too can a place lose the right to trade on its goodwill when the name of the place becomes associated with a product that comes from elsewhere.


Matthew Elsmore's plea for advice regarding terminology and the naming of IP-related courses (here) received quite a few responses. The IPKat has now also received the following from his friend Michael Lin, concerning a presentation which he gave to Tsinghua University's International MBA Students a year ago (details of the presentation can be obtained directly from Michael by emailing him here. Says Michael:
Boring? Never, if it's to do with IP
"The title I used was not particularly inspiring: 'Intellectual Property for Business', but was intended to be an introduction to IP for business people. As 80%+ of Fortune 500 companies' value is intangibles, my basic message was: "Most CEOs don't understand IP, although it is 80%+ of the company. You cannot be an effective CEO or business manager if you don't understand 80% of your company." My take-away for business students is that "business people don't need to be experts in IP, but they need to understand the basics so that they can spot potential issues. Then they can call in the experts". So potential titles would play around the concept as well:
  • IP: The unknown 80% of your company
  • Your business - the unknown 80%
  • IPR: 80% of your company
  • Understanding the other 80%
  • You don't know (80% of) your business
  • IP: The other 80%
  • Other, more boring titles:
  • IP 101
  • Business IP 101
  • What you don't know CAN hurt you
Also, when explaining conplex and/or convoluted concepts to non-experts, I use a lot of analogies. IP rights are not 'the right to exclude" but instead, I use an example of a pen. But I've only got the right to stop someone else from using it, even though I can't use it myself".

LEGO bricks and childhood memories (generated by this post here) continue to bring a gentle trickle of correspondence into the IPKat's mailbox.  One recent email comes from Stuart Jackson Kempner & Partners), who writes:
"It interests me that so many of your correspondents feel nostalgic about Lego bricks. Perhaps it is because they are all much younger than me. My childhood was before Lego became so well known (or, at least, known to me) so it always felt very sad to me that it appeared to take over from and completely displace Meccano, with which I spent many happy hours not just playing, but, I like to think, learning as well. Meccano was different from Lego in that it required so much more skill and thought, and led to an implanting of basic engineering skills. Meccano was not as easy to use as just placing bricks on top of one another; but that was its attraction. Everyone that I knew had a Meccano outfit, but it seems to have virtually disappeared. It is an example of a trade mark that must be a lot less valuable now than once it was. 
One person whom I know feels similarly is Nobel Prize winner Prof Sir Harry Kroto, whom I remember hearing suggest at a talk he gave that the loss of popularity of Meccano had been responsible for the decline in the British engineering industry".
There's more too from Professor Sir Robin Jacob (see earlier post here), who refers to Hilary Page's patent for what is effectively a Lego brick and writes:
"The Page patent shows slits in the end of the bricks. These were for sliding flanged window pieces in. Not all Page bricks had these - as your other picture shows. 
And one more thing: in 1947 my big brother took me to the British Industries Fair (a post-war - a 'we are getting back on our feet, trade with Britain' sort of event). Kiddicraft had a model of Battersea Power Station made from their bricks -- and actually had a set".

Around the weblogs.It has been a quiet few days on the IP blogosphere, though there has been some activity.  Kingsley Egbuonu's A to Z tour of African jurisdictions on behalf of the Afro-IP blog has taken him to Madagascar this week.  The 1709 Blog's "12 for 2012" series on people who, dying in 1941, find that their copyright in the EU and some other places has evaporated like dew on the onset of 2012 features three composers (Johan Wagenaar, Jelly Roll Morton and Frank Bridge) and one deep-thinking poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore.  The Art & Artifice weblog has its own list of artists whose work is similarly affected, thanks to Rosie Burbidge here.

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