composed a post, "The Consumer Protection Function of Trade Marks: Just so?", to which this Kat added some bold red comments of his own about the heresy of consumer protection being an objective of trade mark law. The Kats' Commune has now received news of a further paper, "The Image of the Consumer in European Trade Mark Law", by the distinguished pair of Oxford academics Graeme Dinwoodie and Dev Gangjee. This paper, which forms a chapter of a forthcoming Hart publication The Image(s) of the Consumer in EU Law (Leczykiewicz and Weatherill, eds), can be accessed via SSRN here. According to its abstract:
This chapter ... [explores] the role of the average consumer in European trade mark law. There is in fact a variable concept of the consumer within European trade mark law and the chapter first sets itself the task of mapping these variations. We suggest that for structural reasons European trade mark law may be compelled to work with a differentiated concept of the consumer. However these variations should be approached relationally, with an awareness of the points of difference and their basis. In particular, we suggest that most efforts by courts to identify or construct consumers and the marketplace they inhabit are blended exercises that are part-empirical and part-normative. Explicitly recognising this blend will, we believe, enable a richer debate about the role played by the consumer in European trade mark law and the evidence or considerations to which courts might have regard. It also allows us to explore whether trade mark law in Europe ought — either to achieve its own objectives or to contribute to the broader European project — to adopt an approach to the consumer that is more empirically or normatively grounded as required by the legal context and whether different national courts are (despite different methodological traditions that survive European harmonisation) converging on a common approach to the ‘trade mark consumer’.
little post this morning on Peppa Pig and the embarrassment of one Gabriella Capra (translated as "Gabriella Goat") has been something of a revelation. Not only has it attracted well over 1,000 page views in the few hours since it went live, but it has been the subject of discussion of several of this Kat's professional colleagues who, until now, had been rather coy about their attachment to Peppa Pig. There's not much comfort for Ms Capra, though. This Kat has been directed to this item in the Guardian on how the articulate piglet's merchandise looks set to top the US$ 1 billion mark this year. Incidentally, notes the erudite Merpel, there appears to be something of a cultural allusion in the choice of the name Peppa: "Pig and Pepper" is the title of chapter 6 of Lewis Carroll's children's grown-ups' classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
guest post by Sophie Arrowsmith, have apparently had a rethink concerning their application. According to a short snippet in this morning's Mail Online, the star team had applied for a "copyright for a new design" which, following DC Comics' objections, they now have "no plans to use".
Attaché case. The UK government has published the independent IP Attache Evaluation Report: Programme Review, which it commissioned in order to evaluate the performance of the British IP attachés who, stationed in Brazil, China, India and South East Asia, are intended as a means of working with local IP enforcement and generally assisting British businesses abroad. This assessment is drawn from a wide range of sources including existing IPO management information, the evaluator’s own surveys and 1-2-1 interviews with business and officials who have had direct contact with the network. Responses have been good, with respondents reporting that 79% of interactions were “valuable”. However, it's disappointing that only 21% of respondents have made contact with or been made aware of the attachés for “pre-emptive protection advice”, given the principle that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A Katpat goes to Michael Lin for spotting the review, which you can read in full here.
Next year's event will be on Tuesday 24 November, at a venue to be confirmed, and the keynote speaker will be Peter Groves -- General Editor of the Business Client Handbook, Ipso Jure blogmeister and editor of Motor Law.