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, 23 April 2012

Monday miscellany

The IPKat is known for his commitment to openness and clarity in legislation and public-sector policy-making, among other things, which is why he has maintained a suspicion of the manner in which the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the European unified patent court have been handled.  In the case of ACTA it was a matter of not enough information, since the project was both conceived and matured behind locked doors; in the case of the unified patent court it was a matter of being flooded by too much, sometimes almost indistinguishable information in too short a time. This is a subject to which the IPKat proposes to return.  Meanwhile, in his quest for information, he has recently discovered the joys of Cryptome, described on Wikipedia as welcoming
"documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance—open, secret and classified documents—but not limited to those".
It's not just military stuff that gets the hush-hush treatment. Here's an entry dated 19 April 2012 relating to "Secrecy for Economically Significant Patents". The document emanates from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is titled "Notice of Request for Comments on the Feasibility of Placing Economically Significant Patents Under a Secrecy Order and the Need to Review Criteria Used in Determining Secrecy Orders Related to National Security". It's just twelve sides long and you can read it in full here. The IPKat is particularly fascinated by the bit that goes like this:
"The Subcommittee has raised the concern of a potential risk of loss of competitive advantage during the period of time between publication and patent grant. Taking into account the current procedures through which an applicant may elect to defer publication of a patent application until patent issuance or expedite its prosecution, this Notice seeks to obtain feedback on whether the United States Government should institute a new regulatory scheme, modeled from that applied to national security concerns. This new procedure would institute a secrecy order that forbids applicants from disclosing subject matter deemed to be detrimental to national economic security for such period as the national interest requires".
Merpel is a bit puzzled about all this. Isn't the whole point of patenting to do with disclosing inventions? Comments, anyone?


Around the weblogs.  When is patent litigation over? In Germany the question is a live one -- and if you can't tell your Überwachungsvorrichtung from your Crimpwerkzeug you might be in trouble, as Michael Thesen explains on PatLit here. This week's Afro-IP visit of Africa's official intellectual property websites -- the 45th in Kingsley Egbuonu's series -- finally gets to South Africa, a jurisdiction where much is made of online IP information and services. Writing for IP Tango, Rodrigo Ramirez Herrero reviews the support received from the US for IP training programmes Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Exciting news from IP Draughts' Mark Anderson is that plans for a postgraduate course on IP transactions are edging closer to reality.




Made in Greece
Greece updates its trade mark law. Nearly two weeks ago, the new Greek trade mark law was enacted. This law brings Greece in line with Directive 2004/48 (the IP enforcement directive) and seeks to bring the country's law into the 21st century. Among other things, the law provides for (i) e-filing, online document access and full computerisation, once the appropriate infrastructure has been set up; (ii) direct filing by the applicant, so long as a local agent (who need not be an attorney) is designated to accept service of documents; (iii) speedy registration, with examinations being done by examiners and not, as before, the Trademarks Administrative Committee; (iv) letters of consent to the registration and use of later trade marks can now be submitted ahead of grant without the need for a special hearing; (v) the mere transit of counterfeit goods through the Greek territory to any other country becomes an infringement, as does the importation into Greece of counterfeit goods with the purpose of re-exporting them (these are also criminal offences); (vi) relief for interim infringement has been enhanced and -- though this may not fit snugly into the EU's ideal regime of a single market in which all goods are treated equally on the basis of their quality, availability and price -- (vii) a new “Made in Greece” certification mark, is to be introduced, the so-called TRADE MARK FOR GREEK PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, is to be introduced once the criteria are established for granting it on the basis of the place of production, origin of the main ingredients and production cost (katpat to Manos Markakis, Dontas Law Offices, for this information).  The IPKat reminds readers that they can sample Greek trade mark law first-hand if they register for the MARQUES Conference, 18 to 21 September, which happily is taking place this year in Athens. Details, once available, can be accessed here.


Stung by a recent comment on this weblog about the lack of user-friendliness of publisher Sweet & Maxwell's website-- which was compared with that of Wolters Kluwer -- one of the IPKat's treasured contacts there has swiftly and positively sent him through some good news. Of the current site she says: "we are in the process of completely rebuilding it. I believe that the new site will be ready for launch later on this year. I know it is quite slow and frustrating but we are trying to improve it based on customer feedback".

1 comment:

Alasdair said...

I thought disclosure was the justification for patenting, which isn't quite the same thing as the point of it.

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