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.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Tuesday tiddlywinks

Meeting of minds, or meeting of minders? The European Patent Office's Board 28 meets tomorrow.  The IPKat suspects that, after it has done so, we may be hearing about the consequences -- but this is a matter which he leaves to Merpel, whose post on Board 28 last week has already been much read and commented-upon.

Grrr ...
Bull baits bulldog.  Red Bull GmbH v OHIM, Case T-78/13, is one of those decisions that is too small to give a whole blogpost to, but too interesting to ignore completely. So what happened? Setting aside the decision of the Second Board of Appeal, the General Court last Thursday upheld Red Bull's challenge to Sun Mark's application to register the word BULLDOG as a Community trade mark for various drinks. Red Bull relied on its own earlier international and Austrian registrations of the word mark BULL and RED BULL, registered for identical goods, but it was basically the BULL registrations that won the day. Said the General Court, on account of the extra letters DOG in BULLDOG, the two marks had only average visual and phonetic similarity -- and most non-English speakers would not normally be familiar with the word "bull" (which was pronounced differently in most European languages) and, among those unfamiliar with the word "bull", there was obviously no conceptual similarity. However, for English-speaking drinkers, there was in England a certain but not very well-known association between bulls and bulldogs in that bulldogs had originally been bred to participate in bull-baiting. Overall, the marks were similar. This being so, and given that it seemed to have slipped the attention of the  Board of Appeal that the two marks were for identical goods, there was a likelihood of confusion.

Around the weblogs. Ben Challis's latest CopyKat column on the 1709 Blog is a Grammy special. The MARQUES Class 99 weblog announces that the UK Intellectual Property Office is tendering for research on the infringement of registered and unregistered design rights, while that organisation's Class 46 weblog proclaims the launch of a members' survey on how they are getting on with the latest version of the European Union's Customs Regulation. Art & artifice's Rosie Burbidge pertinently asks "Is copyright in a 1980s Michael Jordan photo infringed by the Jumpman logo?"  Finally, the jiplp weblog publishes its February contents and Katfriend Paul Joseph's guest editorial on "Copyright Reform: End of a Dream?"

Nordic e-book. After this Kat posted this piece on next month's forthcoming Nordic IPR Forum, which is offering all readers of this weblog a 10% reduction on its its registration fees, the organisers sent him a link to a short (15 page) e-book,"The Next Chapter of Nordic IPR", the theme of which runs thus:
"The Nordic countries have a strong history in research and innovation in the IP sphere, this alongside well-developed traditional and digital infrastructure, places the region at the forefront of the industry. This eBook will focus on the most important strategic challenges facing IP owners and innovators, as well as those who advise them in 2015. Primarily, such challenges mentioned will address the best methods to achieve monetisation, how to move to mobile IP, the impact of US litigation on the Nordic region, the challenges of attorney-client privilege and other forms of IP value creation".
You can access this little book, which contains the findings of a Nordic IPR survey taken last year, here.

Oxford University Press is having a Winter Sale.  You can access the full list of books on offer here.  There are several IP classics on the list, ranging from a wonderful piece of scholarship that is Colonial Copyright Intellectual Property in Mandate Palestine by Michael D. Birnhack to works aimed at the practitioner such as Indian Patent Law and Practice by K.C. Kankanala and A.K. Narasani.  Do check the list out: you may find some treasures there that will provide pleasure, recreation, information and security ...


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the breach of copyright, but here is a complete copy of "Indian patent law and practice":

Nothing is patentable as this would provide a reward to innovators at the expense of our national parasitic industries.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think we may hear about the consequences of the Board 28 meeting? They've not announced anything previously. In fact, the EPO and the Administrative Council simply don't believe in transparency. They much prefer to leave people guessing, so that they can complain about wild speculation.

Anonymous said...

The kat knows because of the leaking of confidential information. My firm has also been provided with much information from EPO sources, which I believe is inappropriate and puts me in a difficult position while representing my client as it may influence my advice, though it would be wrong to allow it. I have made the difficult decision to advise my client of this conflict and I have also passed on information on several more serious leaks directly to the AC of the EPO.

Anonymous said...

Why do you tell us? To act as a threat to whistle-blowers? The EPO is a public body so why the secrecy? If the information is significant then why hide it at all? I guess everyone will be trying to work out what sort of info could impact your decision making but be top secret.

Anonymous said...

The information was confidential and should never have been leaked. I don't make the decision on what is secret and what is not secret. I am fully supportive of whistle blowing, but the information was not provided to me for that purpose and nor am I in a position to deal with any issues disclosed by a whistle blower. I suggest people blow to their MP or any other relevant person.

MaxDrei said...

Readers, do you (as I do) find the text of anon's utterance in this thread at 22:16 yesterday bizarre. It speaks of "inappropriate" leaks of much "confidential" information from "EPO sources". It tells of the anguish of the receiver, only relieved by immediately reporting the leaks to the Chair of the AC.

Readers, do you give any credence to the stated reason for the anguish (a supposed dilemma whether to tell the supposed "clients" of his supposed "firm" what's in the leaks). Do you, like me, assess this as absurd and do you, like me, suspect that the real reason is to frighten those who might be on the point of reporting recent events inside the EPO?

One had thought that the employees of the EPO spend their time doing patent law. But I suspect that, just at the moment, the number of EPO employees involved in other things (special duties one might term them euphemistically) is rising.

Anonymous said...

Max, are you asserting, based on knowledge, that no EPO employee has disseminated "confidential" information to law firms involved in EPO disputes? The tone and detail of the comments are indeed odd, but all readers of this blog know that Merpel is receiving regular updates of internal goings on.

I recall a few months ago several comments regarding the existence and content of documents on a case that were actually withheld from publication on the file due to their subject-matter.

If you were a lawyer involved in EPO proceedings where the independence of the Board was at issue and you received confidential information would you share it with your client? The commentator may be a junior on the periphery of such a case and some of the story may be fact sprinkled with fiction for effect.

Anonymous said...


Thankfully, I am a member of CIPA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at Tuesday, 10 February 2015 at 22:16:00 GMT
I would say Merpel knew about the Board 28 meeting because the information appears on the EPO calendar on their site. No secrets about this one.
For the rest, what you're sharing with the rest of us is that someone whistle-blows in your direction, and you in turn whistle-blow in the direction of the AC?
Ain't that cute!!!

Anonymous said...

Further to what Anonymous @ 12:42 states, I actually have a snippet saved from a post that was later retracted and expunged, obstinately because the snippet was in fact such a confidential piece.

As to disqualifications - unless the firm also represents the Office, I have serious doubts that the knowledge would so serve that purpose. Something indeed odd with the original post in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Are we talking about the confidential document viewable on Techrights?

MaxDrei said... which the inevitable answer has to be that I couldn't possibly comment:

or, if you prefer it US-style:

Anonymous said...

15:04 You've clearly not been following Merpel's disclosures over the last few months.

Whistleblowing is only whistleblowing if you go to the appropriate people. Any information on the EPO President's allegedly inappropriate attempts at interference in independent procedures should be made direct to the AC. By passing on the information to the AC, it is going to the correct place. Merpel is also not the right person to whistle blow to.

p.s. I am not a lawyer on the fringe of anything. The information provided to me is of benefit to my client's case, but as it is confidential and should never have been sent to me, I can neither use it nor share with my client. If I have a greater respect for the law and my duty, so be it.

You tube if you want to Maxdrei.

Anonymous said...

The fact remains that if the EPO wasn't so obsessively secretive, then there would be no whistles to blow, nothing to report to the AC and no conflicts of interest to prevent you telling your clients what you know.

Anonymous said...

There is confidential information in every walk of life. It is not just a case of obsessive secrecy.

Sally Cooper said...

The RED BULL case - OHIM represented by P. Bullock !

Anonymous said...

It took a while but I get it now.

Red Bull and Mr P.

Makes you pee, right?

You English make me laugh. I am not looking forward to my move to Berlin.

BoA Member.

Anonymous said...

It's the way she tells 'em. Just like that! Must be in the genes.

Subscribe to the IPKat's posts by email here

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