blogpost that took a sharp and unfavourable look at the European Inventor Award. Apart from receiving a bagful of readers' comments, this post also launched a sidebar poll which has attracted over 200 responses so far -- most of which are not at all supportive either of the event itself or of the European Patent Office's involvement in it. However, there's plenty of time -- ten days -- for this to change, so do take the opportunity to cast your vote. If you never visit the IPKat's home page because you only read posts as emails, you will find the poll on the top of the side bar on the left hand side of that page.
|Sadly, there's no monopoly|
on financial disappointment
"During my work at WIPO I was quite frequently, though informally and rather softly, criticising the WIPO medal awards, mainly on the basis of a sad personal experience back in late eighties of the previous century, when a poor inventor from my country (now Slovenia, then still Yugoslavia) was awarded by a similar national award for his invention. The award encouraged the man to spend all his money on filing patent applications abroad, notably in the UK and USA; while the patent was granted in the UK, it was rejected in the USA, where the inventor had the greatest hope to sell or license it. Eventually, the poor man went bankrupt and immediately thereafter he died from a sudden heart attack.
The lesson I learned from the case is that such awards not only are commercially meaningless, but may even convey false signals to inventors. Though this lesson may not be relevant for the EPO’s awards, it may shed some additional light on such practices. In any case, let me repeat that you are absolutely right that granting such awards are not the task of EPO - at least not under the European Patent Convention.To be fair, invention awards competitions do not normally come with any promise of financial success. However, the point is well made that there is no necessary connection between the commercial potential of a patent on the one hand and inventive merit, social utility or other non-market criterion by which an invention's excellence may be measured -- and this link often exists in the mind of the inventor, who all too often needs no encouragement to believe in the commercial value of his invention.
copyright status -- or lack of it -- of a 1967 photo of Jimi Hendrix. Over on the Class 46 European trade mark blog, Edith Van den Eede explains the outcome of an opposition to the filing of an application to register as a Community trade mark the figurative mark PORTOBELLO ROAD No. 171 LONDON DRY GIN LONDON ENGLAND, based on nothing other than the word PORTO -- which happens to be a Protected Designation of Origin [this doesn't seem right to Merpel, who likes a gin or two and can't see any justifiable real-world reason why the applicant's mark can't be registered for gin when the PORTO PDO is for Port ...]. Over on IP Tango, Patricia Coverrubia, in "Brazil: Federal Court decides for cancellation of a trademark without prior opposition at INPI", shows how even a fairly conservative and formal legal system can throw up the occasional procedural surprise.