Weekend odds and ends

Winners of the WIPO logo competition. The IPKat is now in a position to unmask two of the three entrants to the WIPO logo competition (see here for best entries) and to explain why he can't reveal the identity of the third. The winning entry, "Why Po?", is from Phillip Carnell. A talented man, by day he is an IT and IP litigator at CMS Cameron McKenna - but by night he purports to be the world's best person at writing words on other people's pictures (Merpel says, perhaps he should have become a patent attorney then ...).

Right: "Some are born anonymous, some achieve anonymity - and some have anonymity thrust upon them ..."

The Tower of Babel came from the UK Patent Office's Edward Smith, who incidentally has been short-listed as one of the candidates for the Annual OHIM Prize for the best dissertation on Community trade mark and design law. The very seriously attractive design that was sandwiched between the two English jokers is a gallic effort. The author, who prefers to be known as "The French One", is erudite, works in-house and has a good sense of humour (Merpel adds, "and probably needs it ...).

Don't forget the Golding Prize. Meanwhile, if you are thinking of winning the Competition Law Association's prestigious Golding Prize, you've still time to write the winning essay. The title: “Should there be a tort of 'unfair competition' in English law?”. Details here.

Left: Is unfair competition is a question of standpoint? The tortoise can never out-run the hare, but this one is blocking the path and thereby hogging an essential facility.

And another IPKat competition ... First question: do you ever read the confidentiality notices and disclaimers at the end of emails? You know, the ones that go something like
"The information contained in this email message may be confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, interference with, disclosure or copying of this material is unauthorised and prohibited. Although this message and any attachments are believed to be free of viruses, no responsibility is accepted by the sender for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt or use thereof. Messages to and from the sender are monitored for operational reasons and in accordance with lawful business practices".
Second question: would you read them if they were (i) at the beginning of your incoming mail rather than at the end, and if (ii) they were halfway towards being enjoyable? The competition is this: compose an email tail-note in the form of a haiku (strict adherence with these composition rules please) that conveys the same sense as these unread, unloved, possibly unenforceable rubrics. Closing date: close of play on Monday 5 February 2007. The prize? a copy of Patent Litigation: Jurisdictional Comparisons, published by European Lawyer and edited by Thierry Calame (Lenz & Staehelin, Zurich) and Massimo Sterpi (Studio Legale Jacobacci & Associati, Turin). Please send your entry here. There are three copies to be won.
Weekend odds and ends Weekend odds and ends Reviewed by Jeremy on Saturday, January 20, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Actually, being in a good position to compare these notices - after all, most of the e-mails I read come from lawyers or law firms - I like to read them for one single reason: evaluating the style and politeness of the implicit threat. I find it kind of laughable that someone might importunate a third person with a misadressed e-mail and at the same time dare to threat him or her with the consequences. Forunately, the firm work to simply asks the receiver to delete the content and to warn us by a reply e-mail. I find that a very wise choice.

  2. The worst one I've come across is a law firm that not only has the usual "It's YOUR fault we misaddressed this email, you THIEF" nonsense at the bottom of each message, but puts a notice at the top saying: "IMPORTANT. Your use of this email is subject to the Terms of Use below. Please read them before proceeding."

    "Or what?", is my response.

    The whole thing smacks of paranoid, technophobic over-lawyering. We don't put such notices on dead-tree correspondence (which is equally susceptible to being misaddressed), and I'm sure that's not because there's any real difference, but just because lawyers are used to conventional letters, whereas we spent the 1990s, in particular, still feeling our way with email and not wanting to take any chances. The email confidentiality notice is just a hangover from that earlier era.

    The whole thing is right up there with those "terms and conditions" for (non-registration) websites that say things like, "If you do not agree to these terms of use, you must not use this website". One assumes these businesses' physical premises have notices outside that have a long list of terms of use and then say, "If you do not agree to these terms, you must not look in this shop window".

    I'm open to correction, however, if someone can point me to a decided case in which an email was misaddressed to a third party who then disclosed the email's contents, and where the presence of the email disclaimer was then a deciding factor in finding that third party liable. (Or, conversely, a case in which the absence of such a notice got the recipient off the hook.)

    Personally, following this software developer's lead, I'm inclined to adopt a personal email signature that says, "By replying to this email or otherwise sending email to this address, you irrevocably waive any and all rights arising from any legal notice or disclaimer contained in your email"...

  3. The variations on the same subject are endless and basically worthless...
    I've seen hundreds of them and still believe this is the funniest (have been using it myself a long time!)

    IMPORTANT: This e-mail is intended for the use of the individual
    addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is
    confidential, privileged, or unsuitable for overly sensitive
    persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor, or irrational
    religious beliefs.
    If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination,
    distribution, or copying of this e-mail is not authorized
    (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating
    social faux pas. Unless the word absquatulation has been used
    in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning,
    it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored.
    No animals were harmed in the transmission of this e-mail,
    although the kelpie next door is living on borrowed time, let
    me tell you. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the
    unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden
    message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just
    ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft. However, by pouring
    a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you
    can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have
    received this e-mail in error, please add some nutmeg and egg
    whites and place it in a warm oven for 40 minutes. Whisk briefly
    and let it stand for two hours before icing.


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