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, 2 January 2014

Top stories Merpel hopes to write in 2014

IPKAT ADVISORY: THE CONTENTS OF THIS BLOGPOST MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME READERS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH NO SENSE OF HUMOUR, OR WITH A DIFFERENT SENSE OF HUMOUR TO MERPEL'S

Inspired by Neil's post, "2013-Ten IP Stories That We Wish We Had Written", here, Merpel has decided to do a bit of wishful thinking of her own, listing some stories she'd love to write:

* "European Commission apologises over unitary/unified patent disaster, promises: 'next time we'll listen to the experts'".

Not only does Merpel look forward to writing this piece, but she has the names, addresses, phone numbers and email contact details of several hundred sweet, sincere souls who really want to read it, especially the bit that goes
"We weren't trying to cause chaos, really. We just thought that most of the patent owners, practitioners and judges in Europe were making a silly old fuss about nothing and that legislating a new patent system into existence, with courts to match, was no more difficult than legislating for passports for pet ferrets".

* "New WIPO Treaty to Protect Bloggers' Rights Comes into Force".

Merpel looks forward to the smooth and unopposed passage of the WIPO Treaty on the Unauthorised Use of Works for the Illustration of Weblogs, which will surely occur at the moment when WIPO's member states realise that, whatever the morality of sheer, unrelieved theft borrowing of copyright-protected material, people enjoy reading blogs more than they enjoy paying to enjoy other people's talent -- and there were, are, and always will be more votes for free copying than for the other sort.


* "Developing countries say 'Forget about Nagoya: we want technology we can use ourselves, not payment for use of our twigs and leaves'".

No substitute for IP ...
This article gets written when the 170 or so countries that make up the vast and generally disempowered majority in the great IP debates of our time wake up to the fact that making businesses pay for the use of biological material found in their territories is a pathetic fobbing off exercise and they ask themselves the following questions: (i) are we truly any better off after the last bit of bio-material has been paid for and there's nothing left to bio-prospect? (ii) are developing countries likely to receive in total any more than the amount of money that has been spent so far in transporting diplomats and lobbyists around the world, feeding and installing them in hotels, paying their taxi and per diem living expenses? and most importantly (iii) when will the world adopt any policy that addresses the imbalance of technological capabilities between countries that can do things and countries that can't, possibly by making it financially worth the effort for bio-pirates and indeed anyone else to invest hard cash, on-site education and training, manufacturing plant and so on, in countries that lack any reason for their educated young to remain there rather than migrate to better jobs and prospects in the USA, Europe and beyond?


* "Senate passes bill to protect good patent trolls".

Merpel will explain at this point that there are three types of patent troll: the good, the neutral and the bad.  Good trolls are pleasant, offer licences on genuinely reasonable terms, hold patents that are more valid than not, and which assist innovators buy paying decent sums for the patents they acquire so that the seller can cut its losses or invest any sums received in fresh innovative projects.  Neutral trolls are, well, not so bad. They may look a bit like university or public sector research institutions and they're definitely not altruistic when it comes to money -- but at least their essential nature is covered by the figleaf of academic respectability.  Bad trolls are the best business model by far, which is why so many good and even neutral trolls would love to be bad ones if they got the chance, threatening to sue everyone on sight, with rubbish-weak patents and the golden prospect of a jury trial in East Texas. Since good trolls are so few and far between, the Senate views them as a sort of protected species. The best way to protect them is to legislate a simple rule that, if a good troll approaches you for money, you're not allowed to defend yourself but have to pay.


* "Chinese finally shamed into providing decent IP enforcement for foreign brand owners after reading so many articles on how the Chinese are at last providing decent IP enforcement for foreign brand owners".

It is not always appreciated in the West, but the Chinese are very sensitive to issues of "face" and, particularly, of "losing face". In the olden days, when every IP journal and magazine carried articles excoriating the Chinese for their blatant and callous disregard for Western intellectual property rights and their government-sponsored encouragement of outright theft of brands and designs, the Chinese were indignant, resenting the harsh criticism that was hurled at them.  But now that, authors and editors are tripping over each other in the race to be first to publish a paean of praise for the efforts made by the Chinese to emulate, if not actually surpass, the levels of protection available elsewhere, no self-respecting Chinese person can take the total embarrassment of feeling the pain and the shame at the possibility of there being even the smallest gap between the printed word and the reality.

* "Foreign defendant emerges triumphant in French IP infringement proceedings". 
No further explanation required.

* "Three Strikes and You're Out for clients who give patent and trade mark attorneys last-minute instructions"

It is well known that the IP system would work much better if IP practitioners were given more time to do their jobs properly, instead of having to respond to last-minute communications from their clients -- especially where there's not enough time to get back to the client and seek clarification of what it meant and do what the client has asked for.
In an attempt to improve the operative efficiency of the patent, trade mark and registered design systems, clients who persistently give instructions to their professional representatives or respond to requests for information within three days of any previously notified deadline will first receive a written warning; if that warning is not taken to heart, their names and particulars will be entered on a publicly accessible database.  If that too fails to engender a behaviour change, late-late clients will be suspended for 24 calendar months from being able to participate in any office action, including applications, oppositions and defences to cancellations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last one is a good idea, but I suspect that a proportion of patent attorneys have become addicted to the rush of last-minute working up against deadlines which if missed cause irretrievable loss of rights. Patent attorneys have confessed to me that they are far less productive when it's not urgent.

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