From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Monday miscellany

"Patent Value": tomorrow's dialogue.  The event co-hosted tomorrow by the IPKat and the IP Finance blog, in which Intellectual Asset Management editor Joff Wild and our blogging colleague Neil Wilkof discuss the impact of patent litigation on the values of patents, still has a little room for late registrants -- but if you want to come you'll have to let us know by mid-day today.  Details can be found here.  And if you have already registered but can't come after all, do let us know, so our kind hosts at EIP can cater refreshments for the right number of people. Thanks!

E-CRIME: coming your way! The IPKat has been asked to highlight the commencement of a fresh new European project, called E-CRIME, which focuses on the economic impact of cyber-crime in Europe. Naturally he is delighted to oblige, even if in Merpel's opinion E-CRIME is just a teensy-weensy bit descriptive for a project focusing on cyber crime. You can find more about this project by reading the short note on it on the IP Finance weblog here or by clicking on to the E-CRIME website here.

Long-time friend and trade mark connoisseur David Goldring (Oakleigh IP Services) disturbed this Kat's pre-weekend reveries on Friday with the following message:
I spotted this mark [ie the mark displayed on the right] in this morning’s UK Trade Mark Journal No.2014/038 dated 12 September 2014: 
UK00003023916, 27 September 2013 (25) Image for mark UK00003023916 BOLLOX Class 25 - Adult male under garments, including boxer shorts and under pants. 4E Products Ltd Representative: Bingham, Ian Mark 
Perhaps this is one for the IPKat, to show the folly of the system?? Perhaps the word describes the examination procedure? Does it not offend Section 3(3)(a) [of the Trade Marks Act 1994, equivalent to Article 3(1)(f) of Directive 2008/95] as being contrary to public morality – "bollox" being the modern spelling of bollocks (especially in electronic media)? [if Google Search hits are a reliable reflection of modern spelling trends, the modern spelling has already overtaken the more correct original]  Also, is it not descriptive of the purpose – being applied for in respect of the goods/clothing in which testicles are contained/protected/worn?  Can you register ARMS for a sweater, LEGS for trousers or FEET for shoes? Surely registration of such words can and will offend a reasonable section of the public. 
Merpel recalls the words she wrote on this very weblog back in November 2008, commenting on an indignant guest post by Katfriend Sally Cooper concerning the UKIPO's willingness to tolerate applications for A*****E and Q***** (here)
" ... in the light of the [OHIM] Grand Board of Appeal ruling, in Case R 0495/2005 G Application of Kenneth (t/a Screw You) [2007] ETMR 7, it's difficult to say that there's such a thing as a sign that's inherently offensive and contrary to good morality right across the Nice Classification: while A*****E will be regarded by most consumers as extremely unpleasant for most classes of goods and services, it's possible to think of relevant consumers of specific goods and services who might find the concept a turn-on. ...".
This Kat feels that the Trade Mark Registry is not the best place to deal with issues of offensive branding. After all, failure to obtain trade mark registration doesn't offer any comfort or protection to the public: traders can carry on using brands like this which, precisely because they are offensive, or cause some degree of amusement to those who favour them, are always likely to some sort of market success.

Morocco: great place for an IP policy ...?
Around the weblogs.  Afro-IP's running series on African countries' IP policies has now reached number 34, thanks to Caroline NCube, this being the turn of Morocco.  The jiplp weblog warns of predatory publishers who are chasing IP authors (among others) in the hope of enticing them to pay to publish their works in journals of doubtful value.  On Class 46, Laetitia Lagarde reports a recent decision in which the General Court of the EU had to stretch the imagination a little in order to find genuine earlier use of one DELTA mark, in what might be reasonably viewed as a different form from that in which it was registered, in order to support what is probably a quite justified opposition to the registration of another DELTA mark, where both were in the general area of healthcare.  Finally, we discover from SOLO IP that that intrepid solo practitioner Barbara Cookson is now in Toronto, attending this year's AIPPI conference. It is rumoured that a Kat is among the Canadian pigeons too ...

Something to read. Volume 4, issue 3 of the Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property has now been published by Edward Elgar Publishing under the direction of the journal's Editor-in-Chief, our good friend and emeritus Kat Jo Gibson.  You can peruse its contents here.  Enjoy!  Incidentally, each issue offers free access to one of the articles published in it: this issue's special offer is "Intellectual property rights and benefit sharing from marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction: current discussions and regulatory options" by Claudio Chiarolla. You can access Claudia's article from the contents page above or just click here.


Charles said...

.. and not to mention WO0000000929450, in classes 1,2,17,19 and 41 for Bolix.
By strange coincidence, there rests on my desk this very minute EP2386860, whose opening sentence (unlike the title) begins, "The invention relates to methods for predicting morality", to which I respectfully refer all examiners.

Ian Bingham said...

At first glance ‘bollox’ might be thought by practitioners to cause offence, and indeed the UKIPO did initially object to the trade mark application on that ground. However, with a better understanding of what the brand wants to achieve, as well as producing market research into the public perception of the words ‘bollocks’ and ‘bollox’, we were able to persuade the UKIPO to accept the application. The independent online market research determined that 71% of people were not offended by ‘bollox’, and that children on average were no more offended than adults. The word ‘bollocks’ was also recently dropped from the BBC’s watershed policy and can now be used at any time of day. Finally, Kat-friends may wish to know that the use is humorous and light-hearted to promote the charitable links of our client to testicular cancer research. All very appropriate, and because of the charitable links we acted on a pro bono basis. This case demonstrates the ability of the UKIPO to move with the times and they should be congratulated for that.

Jeremy said...

Thanks, Ian, for your helpful and informative comment.

I was amused at the statement that "children on average were no more offended than adults". From my own experience of children, I would have expected them to be rather less offended, given their proclivity for picking up stray words from the street and trying them out at home -- or picking them up at home and trying them out at school ...

Anonymous said...

I must say Chiarolla's article on sharing marine genetic resources is a very comprehensive discussion of how IP rights interact with bioprospecting. I think I now better appreciate the value of open access research and its role in information dissemination, and how patents can potentially, but not always, interfere with this.

Anonymous said...

During the past 2 years of developing the bollox brand I have yet to come across a person who has found this logo/ brand offensive. (Although I do recall one lady who expressed her husband wouldn't wear them) - Quite the opposite, I immediately get a smile, quickly turning into a conversation about the name/brand/and reasons for the name. As with many areas of life the minority tend to shout the loudest/ complain the most giving the false impression that that is the thoughts/ feelings of the majority.

When generally it's quite the opposite.

I applaud the IPO for common sense, listening to public opinion, moving with the times and supporting a innovative brand which does no harm, raises the profile of Men's Cancers and helps businesses move forward.

I also find the very few who may suggested it is a tad vulgar word, admit to using phrase regularly in their day to day life .. Such double standards I believe is the more vulgar.

Anonymous said...

Many people use foul language on a regular basis. I do not see it as vulgar that they have the sensibility not to tattoo such words on their forehead or spray-paint cars or the public buildings they work in.

Also, I must admit to never hearing Sir Robin Jacob call out 'Bollocks' in court, or use such a term in his written judgements. Such lack of public use by Sir Robin must lead the previous anon to the conclusion that Sir Robin must believe everyone he has dealings with him to be a rather jolly bunch of chaps, wot! Not a single **** must ever cross his path. So, what the ****, guv, are you ******* trying to **** **** that **** he's a *** *****, or what?

What did you client just say Mr Smythe? He suggested you go ***** ****** **** , M'Lud.

p.s. That was simply an excerpt from the latest Fairy Liquid advert currently in production. "Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your *********......

Anonymous said...

So, the Scots have chosen to continue their freeloading on the UK. BOLLOX.

Anonymous said...


"As with many areas of life the minority tend to shout the loudest/ complain the most giving the false impression that that is the thoughts/ feelings of the majority."

Anonymous said...

Apparently so.

See the blog report card at

Anonymous said...

It appears that the Golden Corollary 43 has been enacted and the factual data deleted.

Suffice it to say, if I recall the post's brief time in the "sunlight," that in the last two weeks, a mere four people monopolized about 40% of several thousand comments.

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