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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wednesday whimsies

It's not just OHIM: pirates
observe things too ...
Not-so-hot news, since it broke yesterday while this blog's readers were too busy sending each other roses, coochi-cooing one another and generally being so far in flagrante valentino as to be incapable of reading the news at all, is the revelation that the European Parliament has approved the proposal to transfer the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and to change its name to the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.  According to the OHIM website,
"The transfer, which was voted for by a large majority of MEPs [oh, for goodness' sake -- this was hardly a contentious issue on which Europe's fissiparous parliamentarians were likely to be divided, was it?], has to be formally adopted by the Council of the European Union under the ordinary legislative procedure before being finalised.

After the Council vote, which is expected to be passed at a meeting still to be confirmed by the Danish Presidency, the Regulation will be signed by the Presidents of the Parliament and the Council and will come into force twenty days after it is published in the Official Journal [an Official Journal which, in the good tradition of a bygone era, manages not to carry hyperlinks to things we'd like to click on -- in this case the Observatory website -- even in its electronic version].

The Observatory is expected to ensure, among other things, the collection analysis and dissemination of relevant, objective and reliable data regarding the value of IP rights and the infringements of those rights. As stated by Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier during a visit to OHIM last week, the priority should be to "understand, explain and act" to protect creativity and innovation" [As before, the IPKat wants to know the means by which the performance of the Observatory is to be measured in the real world -- particularly in terms of how, if at all, the information which it observes, gathers, sifts and peruses actually leads to the apprehension of infringers and a to diminution of illicit trade in counterfeit and infringing goods. Does anyone know?].

Around the weblogs.  From Afro-IP comes the tragic news of the murder in cold blood of leading IP practitioner and personality in Kenya Rose Waruinge.  The IPKat and Merpel join all right-thinking people in condemning this evil and senseless act and in offering their sincere condolences to her family and friends in their time of sorrow and grief.  Elsewhere, Dominic Young's Copyright Blog contains some helpful explanation of the issues raised by the Meltwater dispute which is now exercising the minds of copyright lawyers on both sides of the Atlantics (see also Meltwater: the floodgates open, below). The Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice's jiplp weblog carries a critical analysis by IPKat co-founder Ilanah Simon Fhima on the tortuous path to register Cadbury's purple Pantone shade 2685C as a trade mark for chocolate confectionery.  Rob Harrison's take on the 22-year-old French fries case for IP Finance complements the post on the same gastronomical delicacy by our own Kat Birgit.  David Musker has been busy of late on the Class 99 design blog: here's his neat little note on the US right-to-repair automotive spare parts bill. And if you like one-sided terms in intellectual property agreements, why not check out Mark Anderson's piece here on IP Draughts?




Conveniently located on the bank of the River Thames,
the House of Lords has ways of dealing with those who
fail the Unitary Patent Quiz ...
Today, according to a well-aimed media release from the United Kingdom's upper legislative chamber, Baroness Wilcox (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills) will be quizzed by the Lords Justice and Institutions EU Sub-Committee in what is billed as a "one-off evidence session on the proposal to create a Unified Patent Court, which is going ahead despite the opposition of Spain and Italy to the Court’s proposed language regime".  The IPKat learns that the Committee will ask the Intellectual Property Minister for her views on issues such as:
• whether the Government agrees that the complex proposals will act as a disincentive to businesses and hamper the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises; 
• the costs and sources of expertise of the Court, given that it will seek to employ almost 150 judges by 2022 and 
• the prospect of success for the proposal in the light of almost unanimous opposition from stakeholders to the involvement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in patent law.
Feeding time in the lions' den The evidence session takes place at 3.45pm in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords. It's open to the public but is also to be broadcast live at www.parliamentlive.tv (you might even be able to get a sniff of what's going on via Twitter @UKHouseofLords.




Meltwater: the floodgates open.  So much happened yesterday in the Meltwater saga that the IPKat, pleading a prior engagement or three, missed dealing with it in its entirety.  In short, Meltwater provides an online media monitoring service to business customers. Once the customers have selected their search terms, Meltwater sends them reports of articles containing those search terms. The reports includes the headline of each relevant article (which hyperlinks to the article), the opening words of the article and a brief extract showing the context in which the search term appears. The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) offers two licensing schemes, one for media monitoring organisations and the other for end users of those monitoring services. The NLA and some newspapers sued Meltwater and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) in England and Wales for copyright infringement and the parties have been fighting ever since over the question whether Meltwater’s end users, such as PR companies, need to take a copyright licence from NLA. The trial court and the Court of Appeal said this unlicensed use of the newspaper-generated content infringed copyright. While a final appeal to the Supreme Court is pending, the UK's Copyright Tribunal gave an interim decision yesterday which confirmed that an end-user licence was necessary (celebrated by the NLA as a victory here) reduced the NLA's proposed licence fee by 90% (celebrated by Meltwater as a victory here). To complicate the issue, Associated Press almost simultaneously announced it was suing Meltwater in the United States (see AP media release here).

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