Great news for intellectual property enthusiasts is that BAILII's excellent service will shortly be extended to cover the UK Intellectual Property Office decisions. While these might be dismissed as "only Office decisions", with no precedental clout, they are for the most part well reasoned and well presented. More importantly, bearing in mind the fact that most oppositions, revocations, cancellations and disputes over eligibility for protection never reach the courts so, if you want to know how the system really works and what is likely to happen to your patent, copyright or registered design, there is no better predictor than the hearing officers' decisions.
All cases that are hosted on BAILII's databases are given a "neutral citation" by which they can be identified irrespective of the series of law reports in which they might subsequently be reported. Thus Patents County Court cases have a designation such as
Weight Watchers (UK) Ltd & Others v Love Bites Ltd & Others  EWPCC 11,where  is the year of decision, EWPCC stands for "England and Wales Patents County Court" and the case is the eleventh to have been posted on BAILII for that year.
Says the IPKat's friend Professor Philip Leith, who is not only one of BAILII's Trustees but a man who personally and nobly suffers every one of the charity's headaches:
"Now that we are beginning to move into adding decisions from the IPO to our database, we are not sure what the best format of neutral citations might be. We need something snappy and easy to remember, but also understandable. Perhaps
- UKPatHear [for Patent Office hearings]
- UKTradeHear [for Trade Mark Registry hearings]
- UKDesign [UK Design Registry decisions]
though I am not sure these are the best in terms of being either snappy or easy to remember. Can your readership can suggest a better system?"
- UKCopyTrib [for decisions of the Copyright Tribunal, which also currently lurk within the ambit of the IPO]
|With the aid of his trusty|
letter blocks, the Kat was
sure he'd think of something ...