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.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Thursday thingies

One giant leap for dolphins -- but maybe not such good news for tuna.  Last year the World TRade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body ruled that the US “dolphin-safe” labeling provisions provided less favourable treatment to Mexican tuna products than that accorded to tuna products of the US and tuna products originating in other countries; these provisions were therefore inconsistent with the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. The US agreed to act on the WTO recommendations and rulings by 13 July of this year. The IPKat has now learned from his learned friend and ecolabel enthusiast Jeffrey Belson that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has now proposed a rule that would comply with the Appellate Body’s ruling while imposing even stricter criteria for use of the label. The new proposals would require, among other things, that any canned tuna sold in the US with a Dolphin-Safe label must have certification from the ship captain and an observer that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in the process, regardless of the fishing gear used or where the tuna were caught [Merpel suspects that, next time round, the certification will have to be signed by a dolphin too]. Says Jeffrey: 
"This is a robust attempt by the US to level the playing field when it comes to dolphin protection requirements. It will no doubt impact many countries besides Mexico, including those that formally declared themselves as third countries with an interest in the case! One small step for man, one giant leap for dolphins everywhere".
The deadline for responses to the Request for Comments on the proposed rule is 6 May.  Jeffrey is the author of "Ecolabels: Ownership, Use, and the Public Interest", which was published in the Trademark Reporter, November-December, 2012 Vol. 102 No. 6.


Kiribati comes of age.  On 19 July 2013 the Republic of Kiribati will become a fully-fledged member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), having deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization. This news, brought to us by a WIPO media release, caused this Kat to do a little reading on the central Pacific republic, much of which is based on the Gilbert Islands [stamp collectors may remember those lovely stamps from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands; the Gilberts became Kiribati and the Ellices became Tuvalu]. With only 100,000 or so regular inhabitants, Kiribati's population is ten times greater than that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office -- but just one eighteenth the size of the workforce employed by McDonald's ...


The most recent issue of scripted, the delicious scholarly online IP/IT journal published by the IPKat's IP friends at the University of Edinburgh, is now available here.  As usual, there's more good stuff in it than you can shake your dongle at, but this Kat's pick of the bunch is a piece by Jan Bikker on a subject he'd never really though about -- though, sadly, it's an increasingly topical one: "Disaster Victim Identification in the Information Age: The Use Of Personal Data, Post-Mortem Privacy and the Rights of the Victim’s Relatives".
"The digital age as we know it nowadays has not only transformed the way we communicate, bond and form relationships with each other, but has also created a digital world in which we are no longer anonymous any more. The fast growth and advances in digital technology and online services have left many areas of research still unexplored, particularly related to post-mortem privacy following a disaster. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, unmoderated footage and photos of the scene and/or deceased may be circulated across the globe before even the emergency services or media have reached the site. It is now easier than ever to learn about the victims and their personal lives due to advances in handheld mobile technology combined with ease-of-access to on-line social networking services (SNS) and micro-blogging technology. Although those advances may be used by next-of-kin actively searching for their missing relatives, they can also easily be exploited by trollers, scammers and the media. 
The paper’s aim is to raise of awareness of post-mortem privacy-related themes associated with disasters and in particular the issues affecting the deceased and needs of the surviving next-of-kin. The author’s field of expertise is in the identification of victims of disasters, and as such the issues of post-mortem privacy raised here will not be discussed and analysed from a purely legal perspective, although reference to legislation will be made where relevant. Rather, this paper is intended to provide an in-sight into privacy themes relating to the interests of victims experienced in global disasters, whether survivors, the deceased or next-of-kin".

Law for Life Sciences.  The IPKat's friends at Taylor Wessing keep reminding him about their law-and-life-sciences microsite Synapse, which you can check out here.  His friends appear to be caught in an existential debate as to whether Synapse is actually unique or merely believed to be so [pondersMerpel: if there were two functionally identical Synapse microsites but one was merely believed to be unique while the other was known to be unique, would the difference between the state of third party knowledge concerning them constitute a sufficient difference to make them unique], but don't let that put you off.


MyBarrister, MyNamesake ...  Brainchild of barrister Ronald DeKoven (DeKoven Chambers, Lincoln's Inn), MyBarrister is a fun and simple-to-use website for letting users unearth barristers they may never have heard of, but who may nonetheless have both an interest and expertise in the site-user's area of concern. You can put it through its paces here: intellectual property is a search option for 'business' users, while defamation and privacy (and therefore confidentiality) are for 'personal' users.  Among the barristers who can be found on MyBarrister is this Kat's namesake, the "other" Jeremy Phillips, who is also based within the catchment area of The Old Nick and whose LexisNexis royalty cheques this Kat has twice erroneously received.



Another website you may wish to sample is Style Brief, a law and fashion blog authored by Sian Levett.  Sian has plenty of ideas and opinions, even if she does sometimes write about dogs.  You can check out Style Brief here.


Around the weblogs.  The Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice's jiplp weblog features another bunch of recently published intellectual property books that are crying out "review me!"  If this is a call you'd like to answer -- and remember, the reviewer gets to keep the book -- just click here.  On the same blog but posted this morning, prominent Dutch trade mark expert Willem Leppink, writing on EU trade mark reform, makes some unexpectedly kind references to British prime minister David Cameron.  Elsewhere, Afro-IP reports that new trade mark applications either are or aren't being accepted in the reopened Libyan IP office; Iona Harding explains that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's 'safe harbour' defence does not apply to pre-1972 recordings, and The SPC Blog relates the latest patent term extension case to be fired off at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, this time on the interpretation of the EU's 'Specific Mechanism' for accession states.

1 comment:

Francis Davey said...

The problem with MyBarrister (and sites like it) is that it is a paid-for site (from the barrister's perspective) on undisclosed terms without any indication of its reach. There is no obvious way of telling how much of the bar has bought into it. That is whether it is a generalist site ("for letting users...") or really whether it is simply analogous to a chambers website with a small number of - possibly excellent of course - barristers behind it.

Copyright/IP in London gave me two hits and I *know* there are far more of us able to do that in London - so I suspect the "chambers" model is nearer the mark at the moment.

I'm sorry to sound critical, but what I don't want to see is all of us feeling we have to pay advertising fees to lots of websites without much real understanding of the cost/benefit of such a move.

I will certainly watch it (as other developments) with interest.

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