For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tuesday Tiddlywinks

The IPKat's friend and fellow blogger Shireen Smith (Azrights) has a special one-day promotion for her freshly-launched book Legally Branded: the promotion offers a mixture of prizes and bonuses for anyone who buys the book (a mere snip at £15 for nearly 300 pages) on Amazon today.  You can find details of this offer here.   This Kat has taken a close interest in this book since he was invited to make some comments on the draft, and he can testify to Shireen's enthusiasm for intellectual property, her passion for addressing the sort of problems that can stop small companies growing into big ones and also her thoroughness in researching the topics on which she writes.

What is the book all about? Shireen's own words express its intended purpose most clearly:
"Branding and IP is a minefield for small business owners, so the book gives essential guidance, in an accessible way, on how to build a successful brand in the information age, choosing legally effective names. Ideas, brands, websites, logos, names and so on – are “intangibles” that you can’t feel or touch. They are more prevalent in our digital society. After reading the book you will know what steps to take early on in the creative process to secure the IP rights in intangibles. They are potentially extremely valuable assets of the business. It’s equally important to avoid infringing other people’s IP rights so the book equips you to avoid some fundamental mistakes".
Don't be put off by the fact that the author is a UK-based solicitor, Shireen warns, since the minefields referred to above are, sadly, to be found in jurisdictions everywhere -- and it's not just small businesses that have to find a way through, round or over them.  The text actually provides quite a good means of sensitising small business owners to the sort of problems they end up seeking legal advice for, and if you fling a copy or two in their direction, it can save the effort of having to explain some of the basics to them before giving them the ad hoc advice they need.


Power-dressing will never
be quite the same again
Calling all women.  Today Viviane Reding (Vice-President of the European Commission) will be busily announcing to a rapt audience in Strasbourg that the European Union has big plans for mandatory quotas for women in the boardroom. Vice-President Reding wants businesses to guarantee that at least 40% of board members will be women by 2020 (currently, women represent just 13.5% of company boards). The outcome of the press conference is likely to be controversial because nine national governments have already sent letters to the European Commission, asking it to re-think the quotas. The IPKat wants to know (i) why, if equality is sought, is the quota not being set at 50%, or indeed more in light of the fact that the population of Europe contains more women than men and (ii) whether it is proposed to achieve this quota through appointing more women or through mandatory gender reassignment [Kat warning: don't try doing this yourself at home ...].  Merpel wonders whether there is any truth in the rumour that, by 2020, 40% of unitary patents will have to be granted to women.  Whatever the case, both Kats are racing off to buy shares in businesses that specialise in the refurbishment of corporate rest-room facilities ...


So simple! In goes
the patent -- and
out pops the taxman
A quick reminder about the UK's Patent Box. A BIS media release reminds the Kats that the Patent Box, which will provide a reduced corporation tax rate of 10% for companies exploiting patented inventions and "certain other medicinal and botanic innovations", will be introduced progressively from April 2013. The reduced rate will apply to a proportion of the profits derived from:
• licensing or sale of the patent rights
• sales of the patented invention or products incorporating the patented invention
• use of the patented invention in the company’s trade
• infringement and compensation. 
The Patent Box will be optional, so anyone who wants to pay more corporation tax is free to do so, and the reduced rate of tax will be delivered through an additional deduction in the corporation tax computation. To minimise administrative costs and compliance burden, Patent Box profits for many claims will be calculated using an approximate, largely formulaic approach [how apt, says Merpel, who can think of a few patents that have also been drafted using an approximate, largely formulaic approach]. Companies will however be able to opt to identify the profit through a more bespoke calculation. Detailed guidance can be obtained from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs here [katpat to Chris Torrero for spotting this item so quickly].


Dr Eleonora Rosati (centre), and (left to right)
Profs Giovanni Sartor, Jeremy, Lionel Bently
and Hans Micklitz 
A new doctor is born.  Having just returned from the European University Institute, Florence, where he was part of a panel of academics examining the doctoral thesis of current guest Kat Eleonora Rosati, this Kat would like to record his thoughts on its procedural aspects.  Although he has examined numerous theses in the past, this is the first occasion in which he was involved in an examination which was open to the public -- and also the first in which the candidate was not merely expected to answer questions but was additionally required to give a 20-minute presentation which explained the background and substance of the research.  All four of the examiners were asked to give an outline of their comments on the draft thesis some six weeks ahead of the examination, so that they could gain a sense of which issues most interested or troubled them. These comments were exchanged between the examiners and then shared with the candidate.  The consequence of this was that, by the time the thesis came to be defended, the risk that all the examiners would be wanting to ask the same questions or duplicate the same criticisms was reduced, and the candidate had sufficient notice of areas of concern to be able to consider possible responses. The overall effect was of an open and transparent examination, the culmination of an educational exercise from which not merely the candidate but also the examiners derived benefit.  Anyway, this Kat congratulates Eleonora on her successful defence (which, he noted, was a also a defence of the input of the candidate's supervisor, Giovanni Sartor) and he looks forward to her magnum opus, "Judge-Made EU Copyright Harmonisation: the Case of Originality", being turned into a book in the fullness of time.


Not yet a mummy
Life After Egyptian Goddess.  In his excitement to tell readers that it was a forthcoming event, this Kat neglected to tell readers last Friday that Perry Saidman's talk and the subsequent discussion on US design law after the Egyptian Goddess decision was actually coming up quite soon, on Tuesday 6 November, to be precise.  The venue is the CIPA Hall and the event takes place some time between 5pm and 7pm, depending if you want to register early or stay on for light refreshments and networking or not.  Details of this lovely opportunity to touch base with friends and foes, a joint offering from CIPA and the Class 99 weblog, can be found here.


Patent licensee wannabes are becoming
increasingly militant in their demands
It's those Frandards again.  While the IPKat notes with sadness that his neologism "frandard" for a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory patent licence for a technical standard" has not yet quite entered the English language, he can already feel the excitement communicated by that most excited of modern IP scholars, Sir Robin Jacob, at the approach of a two-day celebration of all that is worth discussing and debating on that very topic. "Standards, FRAND, NPEs and Injunctions" is the title of the event, which is co-branded between IBIL and law firm Taylor Wessing LLP.  You can download the programme and obtain registration details here. Says Merpel: IBIL hosted "Ask the Trade Mark Judges" last week (on which see Katpost here), and now it's doing the same with patent judges.  On display at this prestige event are Mr Justice Arnold (Patents Court, England and Wales), Klaus Grabinski (Federal Supreme Court, Germany), Robert van Peursem (Vice President of the IP Chamber, The Hague District Court, Netherlands) and Alain Girardet (Cour de Cassation, France).


IP: the Supreme Court
is not ducking the issue
Shrinking piles. The pile of cases heading to the US Supreme Court is diminishing, but the proportion is  more IP-flavoured, according to "Supreme Court Is Hearing a Greater Percentage of IP Cases as Its Docket Shrinks", a note on the ABA Journal's website last week on some case-counting by the respected SCOTUSblog.  The Supreme Court has just 48 case on its to-do list for this term, of which four (i.e.around 8 percent) are IP disputes.  Twenty years ago the figure stood at just 2% [another accolade to the much katpatted Chris Torrero for this lead].

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