|Curled up in restful repose, a python could easily be mistaken|
for a no-legged leather cat without whiskers ...
"This Kat does not know anything further about what appears to be a Community trade mark application, the circumstances in which it is made and the extent to which the evidence of use might either strengthen or weaken the respective positions of the trade mark applicant and opponent. He does know, from years of moderating this blog, that there are a lot of open source supporters among its readers, many of whom may already have been stirred into action by the Foundation's own blog post, a smaller number of readers who are hostile to open source since they see it as a threat to the well-established order of things, and a body of readers which is larger than either and which doesn't really have an opinion, or even an interest, regarding the vices and virtues of open source.
Python is an open source software project in need of assistance -- they are opposing another company's attempt to register PYTHON for similar goods and services, but they have to rely on their common law rights. They are therefore in need of evidence of the use of the PYTHON mark throughout Europe, as explained in this [Python Software Foundation] blog post [which contains very much more background information]. Can you publicize the matter in the hope that it will help them collect evidence?"
What particularly interests this Kat, though, is the potential for the social media to affect the legal outcome of applications to register IP rights. This has been recognised in patent law, where the Peer-to-Patent project [extensively covered by this weblog here] has been piloted, trialled, tested and generally placed under a sceptical microscope and has emerged with some credit. But there don't appear to be trials of equivalent systems for harnessing the power of the public to assist granting offices in unearthing evidence of the nature and extent of prior use, reputation and other objectively assessed evidence.
Has the time come to involve the public more in the grant, opposition and revocation/cancellation processes of trade mark law? Might this save examiners and courts the effort of second-guessing how the public view marks as well as the extent of use? What do readers think?