More than a man can bear

Noting his co-blogmeister's concern for the intellectual property rights emanating from Paddington Bear, the IPKat's other half (Jeremy) feels obliged to draw the attention of this blog's readers to the perils of those who are not exploited bears but who are exploited by bears. He refers specifically to the late, lamented Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who, 250 years after his birth and 214 years after his earthly remains were consigned to a pauper's grave, is now being resurrected as ... a bear, according to an article in Ananova.

The bear, made by German toymakers Hermann, is the latest in a long line of bizarre Mozart merchandise on offer this year, from yoghurt and sausages to a musical Mozart bra. The allegedly collectable toy will wear period costume and a white wig and play Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. 500 of the hand-made Mozart teddies will be produced, about 150 of which will be on sale in select shops in the UK for £165 each.

Left: The King of Bears - perhaps we should call him Bud ...

Below, right: a British Exmoor Mozart Bear

The IPKat observes that Mozart has been registered as a trade mark by various people for different classes of goods - but the dead composer scarcely serves as an indication of origin in most cases. He's effectively part of the product itself, giving it its (novelty) value in the eyes of consumers. Merpel adds, it's sad to think how many people have made money out of Mozart's music, his name and his image when he never had the chance to exploit any intellectual property rights of his own.

Listen to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and be educated here
Hermann bear makers here
Self-advocacy for teddies here

Latest ECDR

The January 2006 issue of Sweet & Maxwell's European Copyright and Design Reports has now been published. This issue contains three English translations of foreign-language cases:
* Dreamnex v Kaligona (Cour d'appel de Paris, France) - copyright infringement and unfair competition action following the unauthorised copying of data from a website;

* Ryszard J v Stanislaw S (Court of Appeal, Katowice, Poland) - design infringement and trade secrecy suit following the alleged misappropriation of the shape of toy jumping frogs and mice;

* Mayan v STF 1 (Cour d'appel de Paris, France) - whether the process of selecting participants in a TV show was protectable by copyright.
There are also a couple of other useful decisions for the copyright connoisseur:

* GMG Radio Holdings v Tokyo Project (High Court, England and Wales) - the appropriation of a "style" of CD cover is not the infringement of copyright;

* EMI Records and others v Eirecom (High Court, Dublin, Ireland) - the court orders an internet service provider to give details of subscribers which it couldn't otherwise divulge on account of its obligations of confidentiality.

If you have any news of interesting and exciting European copyright cases that you'd like to see reported in full, please email the IPKat here with details.

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