Readers may recall that, following a good deal of nagging from the IPKat, CLT Conferences, which organises next week's IP and Retail conference, agreed to offer a free place as a prize for a competition relating to the event's subject matter. The rules of the competition were simple: entrants were asked to complete a limerick on the theme of intellectual property in the retail sector. It must with the line
"Merpel once entered a store ..."35 entrants competed, submitting between them around 50 entries, of which the IPKat and Merpel have chosen some of the better ones for your delectation. As a general comment, some entrants were a bit too free and easy with the metrical format of the limerick, so the Kats had to reject them despite their frequently enjoyable and otherwise meritorious nature.
Food was a common source of inspiration for our budding limericists. Thus Bob Sacoff (Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP, Chicago), who nobly refused to rhyme "store" with "whore", writes:
Merpel once entered a storeOne particular food source appealed to several entrants, for obvious reasons. Thus from Jo Alderson (Pinsent Masons LLP):
But forgot what she'd gone in there for.
She scanned all the brands,
Caught mem'ry by strands,
Bought tuna ! She'd gone out for more !
Merpel once entered a storeand occasional guest writer Désirée Fields (McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP) gives us this:
And despite knowledge of passing off law
She bought Whiskas (canned)
Which were in fact own brand.
8/10 Kats were confused when they saw!
Merpel once entered a storeKit-Kat -- as in "Have a break -- have a Kit-Kat" -- is not to be confused with KittyKat, adds Merpel.
Because she found cat food a bore.
Whiskas too purple,
With the ® in a circle -
A break with a Kit-Kat she'd adore.
Other entrants were more concerned with fakes and counterfeits. From lawyer and novelist ('Pistols for Two, Breakfast for One') Matthew Dick (Bristows) comes this:
Merpel once entered a store
To peruse the infringements at law
Designs, passing off,
Incurred her real wrath;to which another occasional contributor to this weblog, Sean Gilday (Page Hargrave, Bristol), adds
Knock-off brands piled from ceiling to floor.
Merpel once entered a store,The Directive in question is Directive 2004/48, the IP Enforcement Directive, which people might love a bit more if they remembered that it existed. Another Directive which is often ignored, when it isn't being misunderstood, is Directive 98/71 on the legal protection of designs. This might have been the inspiration for the following limerick from Jennifer Munn (SNR Denton):
Found bargains too cheap to ignore,
But she learned, with a scowl,
That the goods all fell foul,
Of Directive 2004.
Some of our budding laureates were quite taken with specific brands. Second time round, Sean Gilday offered this nod to not one but two brands. Merpel hopes that the footwear alluded to in his verse fits a bit better than the last line, which was a tight squeeze:
Looked at its wares and said "cor...
I could copy these frocks
And buy lots of rocks
If design right I just plain ignored."
Merpel once entered a store,Louboutin was in the mind of Caroline von Nussbaum (SJ Berwin, Munich) too:
Bought some pumps branded Christian Dior.
But despite the red soles,
The Appeals Court upholds,
Monochrome shoes comply with the law!
Not everyone obsesses over red soles though. Chris Morgan (Rickerbys LLP, Cheltenham) prefers the electronic sector:
And exclaimed “These shoes I adore!
They have red soles-- egad --
And they do fit a cat
I will walk on my bare paws no more
Merpel once entered a storeRetail brands got a mention too, as Sarah Byrt (Mayer Brown International LLP) shows:
Lured in by a sign on the door
That said: "Bargain prices"
Inside were devices
By "Soony" and "Samzung" and more!
Merpel once entered a storeBen Prangell (Shipley IP) placed Merpel a little more downmarket. Alluding to a post last year on this weblog concerning a fake Primark store, he writes:
As she found online shopping a bore
She free-rode to M&S
And bought a “trade dress”
With goodwill for the high street of yore.
Christopher Morcom QC (Hogarth) does not specify the retail outlet:
On her mind, Dubai TM Law,
It looked like Primark,
Displaying its trade mark,
But all she found was a counterfeit store.
Merpel once entered a storeThere were some legal in-jokes too. An anonymous entrant offered a limerick with the title "Communication 2/12", after Communication No 2/12 of the President of the Office concerning the use of class headings in lists of goods and services for Community trade mark applications and registrations:
And got her rear shut in the door.
She said, with a wail,
“What I need’s a ‘re-tail’.
If your brand does the trick, I’m for more!
Merpel once entered a store,Another limerick of that ilk comes from Peter Smith (Serjeants), who alludes to a legal construct, the "moron in a hurry", who achieved a moment of relevance and a lifetime of celebrity following his appearance in the High Court for England and Wales back in 1978:
which said “three classes for one” on the door.
She bought some class headings,
registered “Weddings and Beddings”,
alas retail is covered no more.
Merpel once entered a storeA further limerick from the same source turns on section 10(4) of the UK's Trade Marks Act 1994, a provision familiar to IP lawyers across the EU (being the equivalent of Article 5(3) of the Trade Mark Directive) and which provides some accurate but ultimately unhelpful guidance as to what constitutes the use of a trade mark:
Where en route to peruse the Dior
She snagged her hind claw on
A hurrying moron,
Confusing the man even more!
Merpel once entered a storeFinally, Mary Smillie (Rouse) demonstrates the apparently unbreakable affection which many female readers of this weblog have for chocolate, alluding to a confectionery rabbit which has made more court appearances than most litigation lawyers:
With a puzzling sign on the door,
Which said, “Use of this sign
Should be perfectly fine
In accordance with section 10(4).”
Merpel once entered a storeWhich one is the winner? This is the tough bit. After a lot of agonising, Merpel has decided on Désirée Fields' entry. Well done, Désirée! We do look forward to seeing you at the conference on
In search of food- nothing more
She thought it was funny
To buy a Lindt bunny
With ‘distinctive’ foil, bell, red ribbon – that’s all.