The new UK-IPO cartoon crew

A couple of days ago, the IPKat posted this about the new logo/name for the Patent Office. As one commenter confirmed, this is no joke.  The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham MP (not David Lammy - see comment below), applied for a UK trade mark for the new logo on 7 November 2008.  The application has now been published as TM number 2501853.

Another curious IPKat reader, Guy Selby-Lowndes, then looked a little further and noticed that, two days before applying for the new logo mark, five other applications were filed to register what appear to be the name and appearance of various cartoon characters, all in classes 09, 16, 28, 35 and 38.  Here they are, in glorious black and white:

TM Number 2501719:

TM Number 2501757:

TM Number 2501761:

TM Number 2501756:

TM Number 2501755:

The IPKat and Guy both wonder what the Secretary of State could possibly be up to.  Is he intending to publish an IP comic?  Will this be a development of the comic-style 2007 Annual Review, featuring Filament Fred (but none of the other characters)? If so, why the need for trade mark protection?  Is this all part of a masterplan to educate the children of this nation into the ways of patenting (the names certainly seem to evoke the various necessary conditions to making patents work)? Can other readers shed any further light on this? Merpel thinks the characters look a bit scary, and is particularly worried what Norvello is intending to do with that big spike he is carrying.
The new UK-IPO cartoon crew The new UK-IPO cartoon crew Reviewed by David Pearce on Sunday, November 23, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Some of those are kind of scary!
    Marketing Marion resembles Hillary.
    And, Novelty Norvello, what's with the ice pick?

  2. Novelty Norvello reminds me of Mr Stabby -- they both have asymmetric eyes and carry a sharp pointy thing.

  3. Have you already forgotten about Filament Fred? That comic already exists.

  4. I don't think that's a spike that "Norvello" is holding - I think it's an orchestra conductor's baton.

    If so, then maybe it's confusing with the venerable Novello music publishing trademark. Which is still alive and well and in use...see:

    I'm delighted for all of you in the UK that your government has so much time and money to waste...

    Covetous Canadian

  5. Hm, they'd better not be intended for use in a comic. That wouldn't be trade mark use, and would render the Secretary of State liable to have his application refused as an application in bad faith.

    How can one put it tactfully - they all look a little like zombies. Are they meant to represent the ceaseless expansion of IP right - ready to take over all our lives?

    BTW, the Secretary of State is John Denham...David Lammy is the mere minister of IP.

  6. Maybe the ice pick has to do with the prior disclosure flag from General Tire & Rubber v. Firestone Tyre & Rubber - "The prior inventor must be clearly shown to have planted his flag at the precise destination before the patentee"

  7. Aha, that sounds like it. The spiky thing looked like a pin to me and I can see it now: planting a pin into a map to claim territory!

    Personally, I'm more worried about "Clarity Claire". Does she look anorexic to everyone else? I know Fil Fred is thin, too, but he has an excuse. Maybe it's a reference to the drug "Clarity" taken by Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Is Claire a drug addict?

    Oh, we're all so mean, aren't we? Tearing apart the UK(I)PO's attempts to bring sparkle to the normally grey world of IP.

  8. I couldn't read the 2007 Annual Review because Filament Fred *seriously* creeped me out. Those long, spindly fingers and skull-like face... ugh!

    He would make an excellent villain for the Doctor.

  9. The gaping mouth on Marketing Marion makes it look like a type of doll one might see in the window of shops in a certain part of Amsterdam..

  10. Check out the "Patent Pit" here:

    - they are characters in a game designed to teach the uninitiated about IP...


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