Friday fatalities

The IPKat is none too amused at the Cat Magnet - described as an "inspiring invention" and featured as such on the USPTO website. This item was drawn to his attention by Paul Carlyle (Shephard & Wedderburn), whom the Kat thanks for the link. A notoriously inaccurate reader, the Kat first assumed that this was an actual invention. The penny subsequently dropped: it's only a piece of promotional film (you can view it here) to encourage youngsters to be more inventive. Despite the implicit incitement to commit acts of nonconsensual nature with a feline, this production apparently won the New York Advertising Week Dove award at the Advertising Community Together (ACT). Merpel notes, with dismay, that the ACT "honors advertising that addresses important social and environmental issues" - of which this is presumably one.

The IPKat's friend Marc Dautlich (Olswang) has directed his attention to this patent application, together with comments from The Register via Slashdot. With a 3 January 2006 filing date, United States Patent Application 20070162321 is for
"A method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organization. The method is provided on a computer readable medium and includes the steps of identifying at least one task being performed by an organization; associating each identified task with a functional group within a plurality of functional groups related to the organization; determining information about individual human resources spent on each task; determining task information about human resources spent on the plurality of tasks, the task information based on the determined information about individual human resources spent on each task; using the determined task information to determine a value of each task; and outsourcing tasks having a value lower than a predefined limit to at least one of offshore and to a low cost supplier"
-- in other words, it's a patent for outsourcing. The applicant is IBM. The Kats say, you can draw your own conclusions.

Another curiosity this week comes through the kindness of another of the IPKat's friends, Lee Curtis (Pinsent Masons), who spotted this report on Connietalk on the UKIPO's resolution of a dispute between Music Choice and Target for control over the use of a bull's-eye logo. Notes Lee:
"The claimed costs award in the Connietalk piece is very high (112,000 pounds) compared to the usual costs figures of 3k you get at the UKIPO".
That's what the IPKat was thinking, too. Even at pence rather than pounds it's a generous award. Some error? Or is there an exciting story to come?
Friday fatalities Friday fatalities Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, October 19, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Jeremy, concerning that IBM patent: It is all over now:

    "My IBM colleagues in intellectual property asked me to post the following statement in order to get it out to as many people as quickly as possible:

    IBM has put into the public domain and withdrawn its application for patent number US2007/0162321 - Outsourcing of Services. This patent application covers analyzing work flows, skills, economic costs, etc. Here’s why we are withdrawing it — IBM adopted a new policy a year ago to sharply reduce business method patent filings and instead stress significant technical content in its patents. Even though the patent application in question was filed eight months before the policy took effect in September, 2006, had the policy been in place at the time, IBM would not have filed the application. We’re glad the community pointed this application out so IBM could take swift action."

    Axel H. Horns

  2. Re: Target v Music Choice

    It's not a misprint - Target's behaviour was deemed unreasonable, maintaining grounds despite clear evidence to the contrary. Tandem opposition cases were also taken into consideration.

    Full decision O/281/07 is on the UKIPO website here

  3. £112k is right - aslthough awards are generally much less, there is the ability to award more in the right case. It seems that the case was of questionable merits....

  4. I've seen it before when a herbal products company convinced the trademark office to let them protect the mark Rosa Mosqueta even though it has been the name of a flower in South America for hundreds if not thousands of years.

    How original!


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