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.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday miscellany

In case you're wondering where they are ...
Getting out from under the shadow? As noted in a Petosevic Newsletter last week, three Eastern European countries -- Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova -- have signed EU Association Agreements. These agreements, which only come into effect after ratified by all 28 EU Member States, are viewed as a move to accelerate their political and economic integration into the EU and to shift themselves out from beneath the dark and chilling shadow of Russian dominance over its former Soviet vassals. Under the terms of the Association Agreement Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will enjoy free trade with the EU, whose officials claim that this step will not affect their economic relations with Russia. The Association Agreement imposes obligations on the three countries too: thus Ukraine will have to organise a scheme for the publication of trade mark applications and to increase from three to five years the period after which non-use of a trade mark with jeopardise its registration. The protection of designs having an individual character, geographical indications (subject to transitional periods in respect of problematic names and brands) and implementation of the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31 must also be achieved, along with the provision of patent extensions for pharma and plant protection products.


Well done! The Research Service of the European Union's Parliament, having done some digging around, has now published its Briefing, "Adapting the EU copyright rules to the digital transformation". This document may not be the most exciting read in the world, but it contains a very handy list of contemporary literature on the subject.  This Kat is delighted to tell readers that fellow Kat Eleonora's masterly article, "Copyright in the EU: in search of (in)flexibilties", published earlier this year in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, at [2014], 9(7), 585-598, has been included. Well done, Eleonora!


"Once upon a time there was an economically
significant intellectual property right ..."
What's the Story, Observatory? A recent trawl of SSRN for random curios and object d'art that might have ended up there led this Kat to "Great Data, Nice Tale, But What's the Message? The OHIM/EPO Study on the Economic Relevance of IP Intensive Industries in the EU", a paper by Katfriend and legal scholar Annette Kur (Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition) together with her colleague, respected [even by IP folk who are a bit iffy about economists] economist Dietmar Harhoff. This article reviews the Report produced by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and the European Patent Office (EPO) under the aegis of the OHIM Observatory, which discusses the economic performance of IP-intensive industries [here]: Annette and Dietmar argue that
"the eagerness with which the Report is instrumentalized for political purposes ignores the fact that, as the economists performing the study themselves have emphasized, their findings do not provide evidence regarding the causal relationship between IP and the economic data. Instead of serving a better understanding of the economics of IP, such politically tainted over-interpretations might actually discredit the analytical results and the advances in setting up a comprehensive database of IPR utilization at the firm level". 
Thanks, Annette and Dietmar: your observations are duly noted.  Merpel wonders if we might hear a word or two from her friends in OHIM in response [there's little likelihood of a response from the EPO, Merpel notes, since that organisation is non-transparent, non-responsive and apparently de facto answerable to no-one: see my earlier blogpost on Eponia, here].


Around the weblogs. The IP Finance blog previews a fascinating seminar on the Patent Box on 9 September, which offers a generous 20% registration to IPKat readers.  SOLO IP carries Part III of the saga of this blogger's nomination for inclusion in a directory of trade mark practitioners, notwithstanding the fact that he doesn't practise and has no qualification to do so at all.  The jiplp weblog carries a neat piece by IP practitioner and scholar Nikos Prentoulis on the issue of proportionality as it affects applications for provisional injunctive relief in Greece, in the recent HARD ROCK litigation. Finally, "Should a person go to prison for stealing virtual goods?" asks the TechnoLlama, in an amusing post which reveals the fact that British MP and IP government advisor Mike Weatherley is a World of Warcraft player.


Obscure? Never --  but cheap at any price.  "Dozens of employees working for an obscure federal agency went years with little work to do, allowing them to collect salaries and bonuses while they shopped online, caught up on chores, watched television or walked the dog, an investigation revealed Tuesday. The probe by the Commerce Department’s inspector general found that paralegals at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s appeals board were paid more than $5 million for their time even though there was so little work for them to do that supervisors didn’t care how they used it".  These are the gripping words that open this Washington Times piece, drawn to this Kat's attention by the noble and multiple-katpatted Chris Torrero. "The underworked paralegals and supervisors concealed non-work activities by recording hours under the pay code as “other time”", the article later states. Hmm, not much inventiveness there, sniffs Merpel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Interesting that the OHIM/EPO report has a slightly sceptical and nuanced approach to IPRs. It notes:

'...regarding the effects of file sharing and other forms of (mostly illegal) downloading, the study offers much less information and specialized research than what was provided by previous investigations of the music market, most of which arrived at the (certainly not uncontestable) conclusion that the overall economic damage inflicted by such practices is rather modest, if traceable at all.'

Subscribe to the IPKat's posts by email here

Just pop your email address into the box and click 'Subscribe':