Friday funtime

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Now that the results of the IPWatchdog's two Top Patent Blog polls have emerged, the IPKat has a few comments to make. First, he'd like to add his congratulations to those which Patently-O has presumably been receiving for that blog's outstanding performance: Patently-O was not only the favourite patent weblog by a long distance, but also topped the "most read" list. Second, the Kat is delighted that, as a general IP blog and not a patent-specific one, his blog came third of the 50 listed sites of patent "favourites", and second among the "most reads". Thank you, to all of you who were kind enough to vote for him. Thirdly, the Kat was pleased to see how many non-US blogs have developed a sizeable following: European Patent Caselaw, Spicy IP, India Patent and IP:JUR all deserve honourable mentions in this regard. IPWatchdog is now going to combine the results of the two polls, to provide a final list, so watch this space for further developments.

The IPKat has just found something else to complain about. If you're looking for any ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Communities or the Court of First Instance since 17 June 1997, you can search for it on the Curia website in various ways. If you know the case number -- which most people don't -- you can use that. You can also search by field, which is handy if you know that the trade mark dispute over BAVARIA for beer is found under 'Agriculture' and not (for example) 'Free movement of goods' or 'Intellectual property'. You can also search for a case by name of party. This is really useful -- but for the fact that you have to have convenient access to diacritical signs before you start. Thus a search for 'L'Oreal' -- a frequent litigant in Luxembourg these days -- will score a zero, while 'L’Oréal' will give you loads of cases (the recent scraps with Bellure and eBay plus the FLEXI and SPA disputes). Since it's sometimes impossible and other times inconvenient for users to find the right signs, couldn't Curia 'soften' the search to enable 'L'Oreal' and 'L’Oréal' to generate the same hits? Merpel says, but those French accents are sooooo romantic ...

Thanks, Hugo Cox, for sending the IPKat this link to some fascinating revelations by Robin Wauters (TechCrunch) concerning social networking enterprise Twitter and the ownership and use of the word 'tweet'.

Normally one to thank his beneficiaries, the IPKat is not so sure in this instance. The man in question is patent wizard and brain-teaser Shabtai Atlow, who has reduced the generally stoic and self-disciplined feline to the status of a twitching wreck with this ingenious time-waster. The IPKat has been assured that 'Circle the Cat' is possible do accomplish, but to his great embarrassment he has failed. Can his readers do better?

Class 46, the specialist European trade mark weblog founded by a group of MARQUES members and supporters in late 2008, is to be adopted into the MARQUES organisation. Powered by a team of ten authors, Class 46 has posted some 1,500 searchable items of news, discussion and analysis and now has an email subscriber list of almost 700 readers. MARQUES will host the blog, greatly smartening up its appearance as it transits from a standard Blogger template to MARQUES' handsome livery. In all other respects Class 46 will remain the same: it remains fully accessible to non-MARQUES members and its editorial policy -- together with the moderation of readers' comments -- will be under the continued surveillance of the blogging team. There's no formal timetable for the move, but it is expected to occur soon. Meanwhile you can visit the current version of Class 46 here.
Friday funtime Friday funtime Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, July 03, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. I've managed "circle the cat" three times, but failed rather more times. You need to be a bit lucky about which dots are coloured in already (or else have a better strategy than my one of guessing...)

  2. Try this: don't try to trap the cat too soon after the start. Instead, anticipate where it might go and click some dots constantly leaving one dot open between two closed ones. When the cat is about to go through the open dots, close them up. With this trick you can win about 80% and prove that you are smarter than a cat 8 times out of then!

  3. Anonymous 2: I've made your strategy work twice now. What I don't understand is why the cat has, on both occasions, made its initial move in what seemed to me to be the "wrong" direction, enabling me to gain valuable time to trap it. If it makes decent decisions, surely the cat must win every time unless the dark green circles are initially so configured as to prevent its escape.

  4. Here are some notes on how to type French accents:

    These can be used while waiting for the Curia to modify their search feature.

    In addition to this and using the symbols feature you can also use a French (or any other language) keyboard by adding French as one of your working (as opposed to operating) languages and using the online keyboard feature. I use it all the time to insert accented characters. Go to start, the control panel, then choose the language option to add the desired language, and choose the accessibility option to set up the onscreen keyboard.

  5. Any half decent backend database server would by default allow for locale and collation independent character searching, so either the DB designers set it up wrongly, or they are using a less than capable db backend :-p

  6. @Jeremy: Well, maybe the cat is not such an evil genius after all... Just evil.

  7. Cat-circlers should have spent more time in their youth studying the Joy of Hex.

    The key to the strategy is a 2x2 diamond shape, with filled hexes at either end, separated by a pair of unfilled hexes between them.

    That way if you start building a barrier far enough away from the cat, you should be able to make a set of 1-hex islands you can rapidly be able to close up if that is the direction he choses to go in.

    It still takes some thinking ahead, because some games you can't put a single hex wrong. But if you keep the diamond shape in mind (and place hexes so you can quickly create diamonds if the cat moves that way), you should quickly find yourself winning more games than you lose.

  8. Been at it about half an hour and just won my first game. Pure random chance; hadn't a clue what the two 'strategists' were on about.

  9. French accents the easy way, whenever required: with the cursor in any text box, press & hold the 'ALT' key, type any of the following sequences on the number pad, release 'ALT' and voilà, done.
    â = ALT + 387
    à = ALT + 389
    é = ALT + 386
    è = ALT + 394
    ê = ALT + 392
    ë = ALT + 393
    ô = ALT + 403
    ù = ALT + 407
    û = ALT + 406

  10. Anonymous strategists and Jeremy: I only just saw 'Circle the Cat' today; it's fun, isn't it? The trick is to leave two light dots between each dark dot. It won't matter which dark dot you start with as long as you place one dark dot between two light dots. The cat then can't escape because every time he tries to do so you will stop him by filling the dot he is closest to. Throw me another game please!


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