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, 22 April 2013

Monday miscellany

"It wasn't me, guv ..."
The Law Commission for England and Wales has now opened its consultation on making groundless threats to sue people for infringing their patents, trade marks and design rights.  Naturally the IPKat is happy to help spread the word.  He is a great enthusiast about enforcing IP rights but feels that you should only be able to enforce the rights you've got, against people who are either actually infringing them or who are so close to doing so that you need to go to court to find out.  Groundless threats can have a chilling effect on all sorts of innocent souls and third parties; they're bad for competition, bad for business and make you decidedly grumpy.  To participate in the consultation process, just click here.  You have until 17 July 2013 to respond.


Vietnam doesn't often get a plug on this weblog but this item, sent in by Alasdhair McDonald (a trainee at Olswang LLP), was too good to miss. It's about high-end fashion goods -- genuine goods, if you please -- being passed of as counterfeit in order to avoid the payment of top-rate importation tariffs. Three customs agents, accused of colluding with Gucci's store owners in Ho Chi Minh City (once upon a time Saigon), have been suspended, though the news item doesn't stipulate what they've been suspended by ...  Merpel wants to know if it's true that they are using highly intelligent Vietnamese potpigs (left) as sniffers, to tell whether incoming luxury goods are genuine or not.


Some general meetings are not
as ordinary as others ...
World Intellectual Property Day, Friday 26 April (and, we like to remember, Robin Jacob's birthday), will be marked this year by a special Scottish Meeting of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.  This meeting, the details of which you can check out here, takes in a range of topical issues including the America Invents Act, the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. As if that weren't enough to saturate the senses, seminar will be followed by an Ordinary General Meeting of the Institute, which gives members an opportunity to be brought up to speed with the latest development in the profession and the Institute, and then the usual Happy Hour and Dinner. CIPA President Chris Mercer takes the chair, so presumably the rest of the furniture is shared by speakers Colin Cahoon (Carstens & Cahoon LLP), Graham Burnett-Hall (Marks & Clerk LLP),  Tim Roberts (Brookes Batchellor LLP) and CIPA Vice-President Roger Burt.


Congratulations are due to IPKat team member Darren, who has spent the past day or two quietly contemplating the fact that he, together with his colleagues at IP firm EIP, have received a Queen’s Award – modestly described by his firm's publicity folk as "the UK’s highest accolade for business success".

Another of the approximately 150 Queen’s Award winners is the IPKat's friend Richard Gallafent (Gallafents), a past President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and a member of an advisory team panel at  ideas21, an organisation that provides information and resources to innovators, in the form of workshops, seminars and free one-to-one advice sessions in London, Birmingham and Bristol. Well done, Richard!


Around the weblogs.  The Class 99 design weblog, which will eventually be joining the Class 46 trade mark weblog as a MARQUES-hosted blog, is holding a "Design a design for Class 99" competition. Details can be found here. IP Finance publishes "Rich relation, poor relation, correlation", a cheery piece on patent statistics and whether they mean anything, here.  Finally, Mira T. Sundara Rajan speculates about reform of US copyright law on the 1709 Blog here.


Finally, if you ever doubted the power of look-alike packaging to confuse even skilled consumers, take a look at this link to a report by Which? magazine which shockingly shows that some 20% of Which? members polled reported that they had been fooled into purchasing the wrong product. Which? is the organ of a registered charity of the same name (formerly the Consumers Association) that has been fighting for consumers' rights since the 1950s.

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