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.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Monday miscellany

Not quite the dormant
therapy that Savva
has in mind ...
Dormant and unmonopolisable therapies 1. This Kat has recently been corresponding with Savva Kerdemelidis, an IP lawyer and Master of Laws student at the University of Canterbury, who is researching gaps in the patent system and alternative "non-IP" incentives for drug development.  Savva is currently conducting a survey on the existence of potentially safe and effective "dormant" and "unmonopolisable therapies" which fail to attract funding due to (i) insufficient patent protection (e.g. due to prior art or insufficient patent length remaining) or (ii) an inability to use patents to exclude competition (e.g. therapies involving off-patent generic drugs, diets, dietary supplements, surgical interventions and lifestyle interventions). Savva's survey can be conducted in your own time and is not expected to take more than five minutes. If you are interested -- and if you are in the pharma or healthcare sectors you should be -- please contact savva.kerdemelidis@gmail.com for more information.


Dormant and unmonopolisable therapies 2. While we're on the subject of Savva, and indeed of unmonopolisable therapies, take a look at this -- another of Savva's initiatives. He explains:  
"Crowd Funded Cures (www.crowdfundedcures.org) is a non-profit initiative of the Medical Prize Charitable Trust, which is duly registered under the New Zealand Charities Act 2005 (Registered charity no. CC49977). It is dedicated to helping prove that cheap generic and natural therapies work, by using crowdfunded prizes for clinical trials. Such "unmonopolisable therapies" lack private incentives for development because it is not possible to use patents to make a profit. For their first project they will be raising a prize fund for Crohn's disease."
The website is still work in progress, but there's plenty of information on its 'About' page here. Again, this Kat hopes that interested readers will approach Savva and give him some support.


Struck dumb.  Following Dumb Starbucks' sensational launch last week [on which see Dorothea Thompson's guest post here], it appears that Starbucks have yet to proceed with any legal action against the "parody" outlet or its "founder", comedian Nathan Fielder. Today Dorothea adds:

"While we await further developments, previous outcomes against brands with a humorous nod to Starbucks may provide some precedents: in 2006 a US judge decided that Sam Buck Lundberg's SAMBUCK'S coffee shop infringed Starbucks' trade marks, yet Starbucks sought no damages and declined to make Lundberg pay their costs, winning in both the federal court, and that of public opinion.  Other disputes, including Haidabucks and Star Bock beer, have reached amicable settlement.  Was Fielder right then when he remarked, "a company of that size -- if they were going to do something, they would've done so by now"? 

The Health Department closure notice remains in place, with Fielder apparently facing up to six months in jail for want of a permit (his 'art gallery/coffee as art' defence failed to satisfy Los Angeles officials).  However, given the media storm fuelled by Fielder's statements and appearances, including Jimmy Kimmel Live, publicised plans for another store in Brooklyn (where Starbucks themselves may or may not have been forced to retreat from opening), continuing media presence, sales of Dumb Starbucks T-shirts and some evidence of actual confusion (including some Youtube commenters still thinking its a stunt by Starbucks), Fielder may be making it difficult for the corporation to let this one lie". 
Merpel adds, don't forget Starbucks' ill-fated litigation against Charbucks, written  up by former guest Kat Miri Frankel here.


Happy anniversaries! On 10 and 11 March 2014 a conference is taking place in Israel. It's "The Measure of Intellectual Property: New Principles, Future Dilemmas", an event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Reinhold Cohn Group's intellectual property law practice and the 20th anniversary of the IDC [that's Interdisciplinary Center] Herzliya. There's a subplot too: the conference "will adjourn with a panel discussion and a call for the foundation of an IP Tribunal in Israel". Click here for further details and for registration.

1 comment:

Nicola said...

Given that Starbucks is from my home state (Washington), their IP debates have long fascinated me. Here is a similar, international debate, from a few years ago: http://www.counterfeitchic.com/2006/08/counterfeit_coffee_break_2.php (Carefully scrolling as the last photo vaguely NSFW.)

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