|Trial judges have to keep a straight face;|
once you're in the Court of Appeal, you
can really have a good laugh. Ask
Sir Robin Jacob ...
Katnote: Sir Christopher is being sworn in at 1.40 pm in Court 4 of the Royal Court of Justice in the Strand, London. All are invited. Indeed, it's an acute case of "the more, the merrier".
|Anand Sharma gives India's|
instrument to Francis Gurry
this link to the journal's blog, requesting comment and feedback. The Kat, feeling well disposed towards all manifestations of IP law student endeavour, will no doubt be making a comment or two, and hopes that readers of this weblog will be similarly inclined. Meanwhile, the excellent and not-always-quite-so-charming Meldrew, whose posted comments often feature on this blog, has reminded the world that he too has a blog, IP non credere: check it out here.
International Trademark Association (INTA) Meeting next month in Dallas, Texas -- or if you're not attending the INTA but just happen to be on an IP culture tour of the area -- you will be more than welcome to attend the ninth annual "Meet the Bloggers" event. Date: Monday 6 May. Time 8 pm till 11 pm. Dress: advisable. Venue: the Press Box Grill (left), which looks as dark and forbidding a location for a blogfest that you might hope to find. Details of how to get there, who is hosting and what the previous eight Meet the Bloggers looked like can all be found on John L. Welch's excellent TTABlog® here. Admission is free. This Kat hopes that among those attending will be the person who inadvertently walked off with his camera, which he wouldn't mind getting back ...
"Language, trade mark enforcement, the Swedish … and (yes) Google!" This is the title of a short note which this Kat commissioned from the excellent and eloquent Nikos Prentoulis (fellow Class 46 blogger and a shining example of a true IP enthusiast). The Kat apologises for not having posted it earlier, but he has been beset by a surfeit of conferencing of late and is still playing catch-up.
We all know that trade mark enforcement is not just about tackling counterfeiters. But we only rarely think about its actual outer limits, the line beyond which trade mark enforcement is not about trade marks but about inventing a way to stop someone from doing something involving the mark and which the trade mark owner dislikes.You can read more or less on this news item here and here.
Swedish Language Council, a semi-official body entrusted with the duty of cultivation and development of the Swedish language, recently issued its annual list of new Swedish words, including the term "ogooglebar", which roughly translates into English as 'ungoogleable’ (provided you can actually pronounce it, keeping your tongue in its place). The term was to be used to refer to something you can't find on the web with the use of a search engine" (yes, any search engine). Google was none too happy with that definition, obviously concerned with the ghost of Google ending up a “generic” brand and/or trade mark dilution, and asked that the Council change the definition in order to have it refer only to search results via the Google search engine and also mention that Google is a registered trade mark. The Swedish Language Council chose to remove the word from the list altogether, seeking, according to a relevant statement, to spark a debate.
I find it hard to discover the (possibly dark hidden) place where trade mark infringement resides in the matter: I am not sure whether the above constitutes use of “google” in the course of trade. Another thing to consider is whether this type of trade mark vigilance may actually harm the brand’s goodwill. It is another thing to pass the message that you will tackle any and all infringing incidents (which is a laudable tactic) and quite another to say “shoot first, ask questions later, if at all”.
So, does that mean that highly successful brands like Google cannot really protect themselves from sliding down the path of being generic or from harm to their reputation? I should not think so. In order to avoid pitfalls such as generic use or harm to the reputation, trade mark owners cannot simply rely on trade mark enforcement rules, where this brand “swamp” is not the result of aggregated unanswered assault by numerous infringers (a death by thousand stings, if you will), but rather of the way people perceive brands and products and interact with them. That does sound more like the turf of advertising and marketing than that of legal. True, a crucial part of brand protection is to tackle infringement, but, in the absence of infringement, trade mark enforcement is, well, out of place. In the realm of purely descriptive, every-day use of trade marks, brands can employ their marketing and advertising ideas to engage with consumers and relay their messages. And if they fail, well, too bad — but that does not look like something to try to repair via trade mark enforcement".
here, and SUEPO's letter to the Chairman of the Administrative Council here. Unitary patent-watchers may note with interest the following extract of the latter:
"The President wants to uncouple reporting from promotions and appears to be planning to slow down career-progression and reduce lifetime-income when the Office is struggling to recruit the competent staff necessary for implementing the unitary patent".