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.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Friday fantasies

Forthcoming events.  Just a quick reminder: readers, please -- especially if you are seeking continuing legal education points, looking for inspiration or desperate for some decent networking -- check out the IPKat's Forthcoming Events page.  Not all of the events on the list are based in London, England or indeed in Europe.  For example, on 6 and 7 November an impressive band of experts from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond (including Australia) assemble in Washington DC for a two-day symposium on Patents and Telecoms, co-organised by the George Washington University and IBIL. You can find this event [which offers IPKat readers a 10% registration discount, on quoting the VIP KatCode] on the Forthcoming Events list, and there's a short description of some of its highlights on the IP Finance weblog here.



Niue News.  This Kat is ashamed to say that, until he became an avid reader of World Intellectual Property Organization media releases, he had never heard of Niue -- and certainly didn't know how to pronounce it (you can find out how to do this via this handy YouTube clip). Anyway, thanks to WIPO Notification No. 218 he has learned that Niue has deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization which will enter into force with respect to Niue on 8 January 2015.  Merpel is delighted to learn about Niue too: it's yet another country that drives on the left. More about Niue here.


Can you help? A student reader, Stephen Green at Southampton Solent University, has asked if readers can point him to any useful information on character rights. Stephen explains:

"I am a final-year undergraduate currently researching (or attempting to research) the area(s) of character rights, personality rights, trade marks, and copyright. 
I am exploring the contrasts between US and UK IP law with regard to how celebrities and/or fictional characters' rights are protected, who owns them and what limitations are placed upon others who hope to use these rights. Some further reading has lead me to the article about the Steve Jobs 'doll' on your website which seems to be right along the lines I am hoping to explore".
Stephen makes it clear he's not looking for answers on a silver platter.  However, any relevant articles, blog posts, journals or cases would be very welcome, if readers can point him to such material, either in the comments below or by email to sgreen0306@gmail.com.


The Kat on the platter: does
he have all the answers *
This Kat adds: from time to time, requests for assistance are posted on this blog and, while most readers are happy to assist or at least to tolerate them, some have taken exception to what they see as lazy students who can't be bothered to do their own research.  This is unfair.  In this Kat's day it was difficult to find relevant information at all. The internet had not been invented, many journals were inadequately indexed and comparative materials published in other countries were frequently unavailable since no local institutions subscribed to them.  Nowadays the position is quite the reverse. Any student -- even a truly lazy one -- can compile an impressive bibliography of articles, books, cases, conference papers and the like, without stepping away from his or her laptop, and the resulting list may be take longer to read than the deadline for submission of the finished work permits.  What Stephen -- and others -- need is an indication from someone who has read and thought about a source, to the effect that it constitutes a useful contribution to the debate and is not just a "me-too" piece that becomes one small and never-to-be-read brick in the vast wall of a bibliographical footnote.



Nice one, Cyrillic! Bulgaria triumph over Brazil. Via vintage Katfriend Ventsi Stoilov from Sofia comes news of Bulgaria's very own national ".бг" domain, which has now received the blessing of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and  Numbers (ICANN). An earlier report, drafted in the course of consideration of the registration of domains in alphabets other than our own dear Latin one, concluded that the combination of letters that symbolizes Bulgaria ("бг") does not resemble visually already existing domains [which comes as news to Merpel, who has no doubt that she can tell .бг from .br when she has them both in front of her and is looking carefully, but doubts that she would spot the difference when she has only one in front of her, particularly if they are written in italic or some other non-conventional style]Minister of Transport, Information Technologies and  Communications Nikolina Angelkova said: "The use of the Cyrillic alphabet on the Internet is a serious step  towards affirming our cultural identity", adding that the decision would help local people who do not know the Latin alphabet well, navigate easily through the web [The title of this snippet is an allusion to the song, "Nice one, Cyril", which you can enjoy here].


Readers' comments.  The Kats have been scrupulously examining readers' comments for signs of personal abuse and other no-nos. We don't always get it right, since in any team of lawyers there will always be those who interpret the rules differently, but we like to think we are doing more good than harm.  Sometimes we have a chuckle at the indignation expressed by readers towards one another. One example of such a comment is is quoted here.  The context, in a thread of comments following this blog post on the new European Patent Office guidelines for examiners, is a discussion of whether patent attorneys overcharge for their patent drafting services.  The sum of £10,000 (roughly US$ 16,000 or 12,500 euro) for such services attracts the following response:
"For £10K, at £300 per hour, I would spend 33.33 hours on a draft. Roughly a week of work with no distractions. In a week, I would draft applications that are not only gold-plated, but solid gold with seams of platinum forming a glorious design. It would be delivered with orchids, bred especially for the application and delivered to the patent office on a virgin unicorn". 
Bravo, adds Merpel, who is however tempted to speculate that perhaps the reason why unicorns died out was that virginity turned out to be the rule, not the exception ...


Around the weblogs. "Smartphone app developers: maybe it is not only the birds who should be angry" says fellow Kat Neil, in this recent post on IP Finance on the challenges facing app-based businesses.  Over on Class 46, Christian Tenkhoff explains the German Federal Patent Court ruling over registrability of the Lust auf Farbe! trade mark.  The Seychelles may be better known than Niue, and easier to pronounce, but the provisions of its not-quite-operative IP law remain a mystery to most of us: Aurelia J. Schultz reports for Afro-IP. Finally, on the PatLit patent litigation weblog, Ingve Stjerna articulates his further thoughts on the legality and indeed the constitutionality of Europe's new patent package, while Kingsley Egbuonu lets us have sight of his survey of 30 users of the now revamped Patents County Court for England and Wales.

* Cat served on a silver platter. by Kent Wang (Creative Commons)

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