Wednesday whimsies

If you were thinking of sending your friends at the United Kingdom's Intellectual Property Office a Christmas present, take note: says the IPO:
"Please note that our Office at 21 Bloomsbury Street will be closed on 24 December 2009. You will still be able to leave documents (in sealed packages) with the security guard.

This is not an excluded day and as such anything received on 24 December 2009 will get that filing date".

The activities of intellectual property administrators in the UK must be quite boring when contrasted with that of their counterparts in India, where The Times of India reports on litigation on the question whether geographical indication status can be conferred upon a religious offering, the Tirupati laddu. At the heart of this dispute is the question whether the GI registry can be deemed to be the custodian of the interests of a deity. Noting that the Lord is universal and omnipotent, counsel opposing the application described it as "a glaring example of commercialisation of divine affairs". Thank you, Secular Citizen R. S. Praveen Raj, for the link.

This month's Alicante News, published by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market and increasingly fun to read, now that it's getting less formal, focuses on Lithuania, giving lots of trade mark and design-related information about that dynamic Baltic jurisdiction. Biggest domestic owner of Community trade marks is AB Stumbras -- a company of which the IPKat is ashamed to say he's never heard until today. The company's principal product appears to be vodka. Although he generally keeps to the finest single malts that Scotland can produce, the Kat is generally willing to review a bottle of vodka for the sake of goodwill ...

The IPKat has just learned that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is conducting a survey to find out how the Lisbon System (based on the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration of October 31, 1958) might be improved, for the System to become more attractive for users and prospective new members. European trade mark representative organisation MARQUES is preparing a paper to be submitted to WIPO and asks it members to submit any relevant suggestions (not just legal or administrative ones) for its improvement by email here by not later than 15 January 2o1o. If you're not a MARQUES member but still want to comment, you can out more about the survey here.

A keen reader has written in to ask the IPKat the following question: "Are there any jurisdictions in which the co-owner of a patent can license the use of that patent without the consent of the other co-owner(s)?" The Kat knows a fair bit, but he's not that knowledgeable. Suspecting that there may not be many such jurisdictions, he throws the question open to his readers in the hope that they can help him compile a little list. If you know of any such jurisdictions, please post the relevant data below.

So much is going on below the border that it is sometimes easy to forget that Scotland, with its own laws and court system, has a great deal to offer the intellectual property community. The IPKat was therefore delighted to receive a mighty book, Rights of Personality in Scots Law: a comparative perspective, edited by Niall R. Whitty (a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh) and Reinhard Zimmermann (a distinguished civil lawyer who holds posts in Hamburg and Regensburg). This tome, published earlier this year by Dundee University Press Ltd, is the fruit of a conference held in Strathclye in May 2006. It features contributions by a number of eminent scholars, drawn from several jurisdictions (both common law and civil law, plus that fascinating hybrid, South Africa). 6 of the book's 12 essays have a high-fibre Scottish content, which means that it draws the reader both inwards, into Scots law itself, and outwards into the comparative analyses. Unusually, given that the IPKat is a great IP enthusiast, he found the non-IP essays as compelling as those on his favourite patch. You can visit the book's web page here. At £40 for some 600 pages of hadback scholarship, it must be the bargain of the year.

Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. My understanding is that the US has that system. I don't know of any other countries but would be interested to hear.

  2. Sorry, to be clear I was responding to the co-ownership question.

  3. Mark Anderson is correct - as a co-owner of a patent you can license that patent without the consent of the co-owner. However, I don't believe that you can litigate on that co-owned patent without consent.

  4. That's right - all co-owners must join in an infringement action in the US.

    In this country, I believe that if one co-owner is unwilling, then the other can join them as a defendant, instead of as joint claimant. I don't know if that is possible in the US, but I suppose it would invite trouble as the unwilling co-owner could solve the problem just by giving a licence to the alleged infringer!


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