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.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Scents and sensibilities: how far can copyright stretch?

Scents and sensibilities. Yesterday's joint BLACA-IPKat event on sensory copyright (on which see earlier Katpost here) was a great success. Arguing that copyright law was already capable of protecting original smells and tastes, Eleonora Rosati led the audience through the line of Court of Justice of the European Union rulings, from Infopaq to Painer, that appeared to undermine the rigidity of the United Kingdom's "closed" system in which only listed types of work could be protected. Arguing that we should be thinking in terms of what constituted a "production" in terms of Article 2 of the Berne Convention, she also drew support from the provisions of TRIPS and from dicta in recent English decisions. Tobias Cohen Jehoram opposed the notion of such protection, observing that lawyers have the ability to create their own reality and that, in his father's words, the Dutch Supreme Court ruling that perfume was copyright-protected, in Kecofa v Lancôme, was "all sails, no anchor". Sensory copyright made no sense in legal, practical or commercial terms, he maintained, listing the many problems that must be addressed when the corpus mechanicum is combined with the corpus mysticum (this is a polite way of saying that you can't detach a smell or taste from the physical object from which it emanates).

What happened next? Following the presentations, a lively and highly interactive discussion ensued.  Dutch IP litigator Sven Klos stole the show with his cameo role as not only the lawyer who will be arguing these issues against Tobias for real in a Dutch court next month, but also as the generous provider of samples of a product which, he demonstrated to the satisfaction of many, actually had a new and original taste.

... unless they are Kats
Thank-yous.  Many thanks go to Reed Smith LLP, for letting us use its lovely facilities, even if the building is so big that you can't actually find it, to the speakers, to Sven Klos for bringing his own tasties and to Sir Richard Arnold, for maintaining the excellent record that members of the IP judiciary in England and Wales have for attending public events, making themselves available to discuss their subject matter and generally showing how much they care about this field of law. Other contributors to the vitality and intellectual cogency of the event included long-term Katfriend Alexander von Mühlendahl and Brigitte Lindner, to whom this Kat also offers his thanks.

More to come.  The IPKat looks forward to making the PowerPoints of the two speakers' presentations available on this weblog once he has received them.  Tobias is also letting us have a copy of an English translation of Kecofa v Lancôme.  There is no truth in the rumour that the smells referred to in the seminar will be hosted on Google Nose ...

Cash for access has always
been with us ...
Cash for access.  The British media have been carrying many reports in recent days on another "cash for access" scandal, with eminent politicians allegedly selling to business clients their ability to provide access to members of the government whom it might not otherwise be possible to approach. BLACA, too, has a "cash for access" programme -- but one which is entirely lawful and indeed perfectly laudable.  On payment of a moderate sum -- less than £1 a week -- by way of a membership fee you can procure access to all BLACA's regular meetings, not to mention a substantial discount on the fee for certain other events. There is also a student discount.  You can sign up by clicking here.  Can't be bad, says this Kat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Kats should take their own advice:

"Please don't feed the animals"

The animals being the disgruntled EPO examiners who spam this blog to the detriment of all other discussions.

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