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.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Monday miscellany

Goodness, how quickly the IPKat's friends have been registering for his 10th birthday event on Wednesday 12 June (on which you can read all the details here).  The special seminar was only announced at mid-day on Friday and here we are, on the next working day, with over 180 good souls already registered.  The theme of IP and the Social Media is a live one, and the team of speakers will be reviewing several different IP-related aspects of the phenomenon.  As if this wasn't enough, refreshments and CPD points will be available.  The venue is kindly provided by Allen & Overy LLP in its cosy London office and there is no charge for attending -- so do come and join us!


Readers of this weblog may be aware of the battle between Katfriends Inez and Gus Bodur (left) and Intra Presse over their right to the GOLDEN BALLS Community trade mark. Says Intra Presse, it's likely to be confused with BALLON D'OR. The Bodurs won before the OHIM Opposition Division, whose decision was reversed on appeal by the Board of Appeal.  Well, the dispute is currently before the General Court of the European Union and Ballon d'Or v Golden Balls now has its own Facebook page, so you can follow developments here to your heart's content.


Kmic capers. Talking of the General Court of the European Union, from the IPKat's friend Piers Strickland  (not to be confused with the similarly-named IP barrister Piers Acland, whatever that court might say) comes a handy note on a recent decision, Case T-444/10 Esge AG v OHIM, De’Longhi Benelux SA, in which that august tribunal held that an OHIM Board of Appeal had properly dismissed an opposition to registration of the word KMIX as a Community trade mark (CTM) for various kitchen appliances in Classes 7 and 11.  The opponent relied on an earlier CTM for the word BAMIX, which covered identical or similar goods. Said the court, the sign and the mark were not visually similar: the fact that the respective marks contained different prefixes and different numbers of letters outweighed any common characteristics (such as the suffix “mix”).  A conceptual comparison was not possible, as the signs were “meaningless”.  Adds Piers:
"In terms of phonetic similarity, the General Court held that the Board of Appeal had erred by not taking into account the fact that in certain languages of the European Union (in particular French and German) the letter “k” can be pronounced “ka” (and the pronunciation of “km” is not usual).   For those consumers in the European Union, who would pronounce “kmix” as “kamix”, the General Court held that the marks were of average similarity.  However, this aspect of phonetic similarity was of less significance than the visual dissimilarities, since the products in question were normally viewed before purchase (especially in self-service stores).  The Board of Appeal did not therefore err when it concluded that there was no similarity between the marks and the sign and no likelihood of confusion".
The IPKat's keen ears picked up news of an amusing incident arising from this case. Esge's lawyer at the hearing was struggling to persuade the Court that “kmix” could be pronounced “kamix” by certain French and German speakers.  This submission was challenged in court when one of the judges questioned the lawyer about whether his name (which happened to be Herr Klink) could seriously be claimed to be pronounced “ka-link”. Happily Herr K was able to announce to his judicial inquisitor that someone manning security on the way into court had indeed addressed him as Mr Ka-link, to the general amusement of those in court -- both on the bench and before it.


Life after Bericap: not
so bad after all!
Around the weblogs.  First, some good and positive news from Africa: Afro-IP's Kingsley Egbuonu happily tells us that OMPIC, the Moroccan IP office, has greatly improved its website. Over on IP Finance, fellow Kat Neil muses about the IP dimensions of 3D printing while, on the 1709 Blog, Iona Harding updates us on the recent decision of Mr Justice Arnold (Chancery Division, England and Wales) in EMI and others v BSkyB and others on website blocking injunctions -- a subject which is starting to develop quite an interesting jurisprudence. On PatLit, via Mike Mireles, comes a link to the review of an  astonishingly large jury award in the patent infringement proceedings brought by Apple against Samsung in California. Finally, the EPLAW Patent Blog reports that the Dutch Court of Appeal has ruled in Danisco v Novozymes that, even post-Bericap, full (Enforcement Directive) costs made with respect to patent invalidation proceedings may be awarded, if those invalidation proceedings are made with the aim of protecting oneself against an impending infringement claim.


Jeremy and the "Minister"
Ministerial matters.  A few weeks ago, IPKat blogmeister Jeremy was invited to open the IP Protect Expo 2013 show at the Business Design Centre, London (it's a very serious event: it is supported by some very serious players here).  The Minister for Intellectual Property, whom it was hoped would open the exhibition, was unable to attend, so Jeremy was asked to fill in for him.  Fortunately, to the general surprise of those present, Jeremy was able to bring the "Minister" with him -- as can be seen from the photograph on the left.   The metaphor was not lost on the audience.  Since this "Minister" does not write his own speeches, Jeremy was able to offer some suggestions as to might profitably be said. The hope was also expressed that one day the UK will have a government minister for intellectual property who will (i) be both knowledgeable in and committed to the subject, (ii) not be so burdened with other duties as to be distracted from IP, (iii) write his own speeches, because all his predecessors seem to have had the same scriptwriters and (iv) be in office long enough to make a difference.

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