For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Friday, 20 December 2013

2013-Ten IP Stories That We Wish We Had Written

With the 2013 clock winding down, this Kat was delighted to have received several days ago an online newsletter from businesswek.com entitled “The 2013 Jealousy List: The 41 Best Stories (and One Book) We Didn't Write”, here. In reading the piece, it occurred to him that as well a lot of feline jealousy had accumulated over the past year regarding IP stories that “we didn’t write”, but wish that we had (or could have). Taking his cue from businessweek.com therefore, please find this Kat’s inaugural effort to describe the 10 best IP stories that we did not/ could not write in 2013.
1. Law makers and academics in the U.S. come up with a definitive and accepted definition of what constitutes a ”non-practising entity (NPE/patent troll”)-- As we write, the U.S. Congress is pushing forward legislation about curbing the claimed excesses of NPEs, here. All that has been missing is a clear definition of what exactly one means by NPE (universities and other research institutions need not worry?).

2. WIPO announces that Member States are forbidden from bringing to bear political considerations in selecting the next Director General-- Once again, WIPO is in the process of selecting its Director General and once again, political considerations are front and centre here. Is there any other way to do this (“and may be the best candidate win!”)?

3. Google acknowledges that “Don’t Be Evil” is all in the eyes/Google Glass of the beholder—Privacy issues have been hounding Google both in its search and map functionality. The introduction of Google Glass will only up the ante regarding the potential harm that Google products pose for privacy, here.

4. IPKat blog posts are cited with approval by both the U.S. and U.K. Supreme Courts— Hope springs eternal.

5. A full twenty-five percent of newly minted law student graduates find a position in IP law—Law school enrolment in the U.S. is down to levels last seen in 1975, here, when IP was a mere backwater topic in the law school curriculum. Today it is much more prominent, but will there be enough jobs in IP for all those who wish to enter the field?

6. Immigration reform in the U.S. promises to increase the number of immigrants with valuable high tech skills— After a promising start, here, the U.S. Congress became mired in dysfunctional politics of the lowest form. Despite continuing concern about “a decline in innovation", no immigration bill was passed that might help alleviate the problem. Japan, are you listening?

6. Big Pharma announces that 2013 witnessed the largest number of new patent filings for blockbuster drugs ever—There has been much talk about the impending “patent cliff”, here, faced by Big Pharma as many the patents covering blockbuster drugs are about to expire. However, the chatter about the patent cliff seems to have diminished recently. Is this observation merely anecdotal or is or does it portend a substantive change?

7. A draft treaty for a single, international patent registration is hammered out in Geneva—It may not happen in my professional lifetime, but it will ultimately happen. Developments with the EU Unified Patents Court/Unitary Patent, here, during the past year, are showing the way.

8. “How the 1980s Was the High Water Mark for IP Rights”—The book that this Kat continues to put off from writing. Whether copyright, patents, trade marks or international trade, the 1980s was the decade when IP was king and could do no wrong. Pushback, some natural and some self-inflicted, plus the rise of privacy as a fundamental concern, have contributed to the decline in the IP consensus.

9. Aereo reaches a commercial agreement with broadcasters—But since this didn’t happen, the broadcasters have petitioned the Supreme Court to have the case heard on ultimate appeal, here. At stake (and the stakes are potentially huge) is whether Aereo can continue to convince the courts that allow it to provide over-the-air, third-party contents to customers via farms of personally dedicated transmitters is permitted.

10. Leading brand holders come together to request a one-year moratorium on lists of “most valuable brands”—This Kat remains fascinated how Mercedes Benz can be more valuable than other premium car brands that seem to be outselling it, here. We all recognize that brands are valuable, even crucial, but do brand rankings make sense?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"WIPO announces that Member States are forbidden from bringing to bear political considerations in selecting the next Director General-- Once again, WIPO is in the process of selecting its Director General and once again, political considerations are front and centre here. Is there any other way to do this (“and may be the best candidate win!”)?"

Given who is the Member State(s) in question, amen. It won't make IP Redneck happy, but you can't please everyone...

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