Friday fantasies

Once again it's Friday, time to take a break from the tests and traumas of the working week ... and to check the IPKat's fabled sidebar for news of forthcoming events.

Reverting to Smarties, following his post last week the IPKat has received further correspondence regarding the proper generic term by which the ubiquitous confection might be correctly indicated. IP commentator Rebecca Dimaridis (Jeffrey Green Russell) speculates: "Using the KISS principle, I would have thought "candy" is sufficient (i.e. 'Smarties candy', following the mark with a descriptive name, as suggested by Ch.127 of the Trade Mark Handbook". Denise McFarland (3 New Square) brazenly suggests giving Smarties an entirely new name -- "Rushons" (a sort of condensed version of "rainbow coloured sugar buttons". Or is that too reminiscent of Red Square and the steppes, leading everyone to think the sweets contain vodka ... ? At least that would leave the word 'smarties' free for use by Nestlé's competitors.

Now here's something completely different. The IPKat's friend, UK-based fellow blogger Shireen Smith writes:
"Given all the discussions generated by Richard Susskind’s ‘End of Lawyers?’ and the Legal Services Act 2007, which comes fully into effect in 2011, I've been wondering how to deliver an alternative to legal services based on an hourly rate of £250 (albeit quoted as a fixed fee), or providing document templates for sale. This latter option has never appealed to me, so my firm (Azrights) has never sold precedents. That’s because few transactions will be standard, and I fear that people who purchase precedents will feel comforted that they have something in place, without realising that the template they have bought needs to be tailored to fit their circumstances. Unless they understand the commercial context of the contract how are they even to know that the contract does not cover the particular point they have just agreed?
I have been particularly concerned about internet transactions, because so few small businesses seem to bother with legal advice when they commission websites or buy search engine optimisation (SEO) services. When I began to run workshops at the British Library’s Business and IP Centre, I realised that it is not that there is no interest by small businesses to understand the commercial and legal issues. It is just that their resources cannot stretch to paying expensive legal fees in order to receive advice. So, that’s how I came up with the idea of a new product, which is priced affordably, and is also available for licensing by lawyers. Here's my press release about it.

I am looking for internet lawyers in common law countries to approve the contract that comes with the product, so that it can be sold internationally, given that it is an internet transaction that is covered. Can anyone who is interested please contact me".

Animal logos are always popular, some because they enable a business to bask in the reflected characteristics of the animals themselves. Thus Puma and Jaguar, for instance, suggest speed and/or acceleration [it doesn't work for all creatures, notes Merpel: the Lacoste crocodile and Caterpillar are two examples] . The Kat has now been alerted by Duncan Bucknell to Save Your Logo, a brilliant idea if ever there was one: "Many companies and organizations use plant or animals in their logos ... Save Your Logo creates an opportunity for companies represented by a plant or animal in their logo to contribute to the conservation of that species". It costs money, but it's all in a good cause, as the website explains.

The Kats are all great admirers of Richard Arnold (left) who, as a judge of the Patents Court (England and Wales), has made some notable contributions to the development of intellectual property jurisprudence during his relatively short term in office. Some would say that his performance on the Bench has been little short of incredible, which is possibly why the IPKat has received emails from time to time on the subject of his resemblance to Mr Incredible's boss (right) in the Disney production of The Incredibles. Readers are invited to consider whether there is indeed some resemblance and, if so, which is the infringing copy ... [says Merpel, the word "incredible" actually means "not capable of being believed". While that sobriquet might be applicable to some witnesses -- and most counsel -- it should never be applied to a member of Her Majesty's judiciary].
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, January 29, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. ... whilst other admirers of Richard Arnold have commented on his resemblance to Alan Partridge.

  2. Ahh but will he uphold the patent to monkey tennis?

  3. Interesting re Azrights. The only issue being that most lawyers - including those that profess to be IT/internet specialists - are completely incorrect on what concerns businesses.

    Example 1 - deep linking. I was at a seminar where a practitioner from Pinsent Masons said that the owners of websites don't like it. In fact, almost all online marketing individuals love it and see it as essential

    1. for search optimisation purposes; and
    2. to decrease bounce rates.

    It may mean that people miss the front page, but most businesses do not do much on the actual front page.

    Given how quickly the area moves, I think that this product is risky. The video also seemed to be giving advice on how to do SEO - surely linking up with an SEO expert would have worked better for the puropses of credibility, leaving Azrights to give advice on an international contract that isn't international.

    Given Azrights perception that they understand the internet, it is interesting that rather than go with the power of FREE, they are asking for payment for something that can be extracted for free. I guess that the difference lies in what the cost is.

    What are other lawyers licensing again? A set of online tools from Azrights that highlight their knowledge in the area that they can show to their clients? Or is it to inform them of the law?

    I know it is easier to destroy than build, so sorry. I am sure this will lead to some good offerings.

  4. The technical input is by our separate business – – who do SEO work. There is information about how to do basic SEO, such as adding titles, and tags, and the like because this is essential literacy that people need in order to thrive online. It’s really basic stuff, nothing cutting edge. The product sits in a hosted website, so will be kept up to date on any changes to SEO. Here is a video clip of it
    People need a good understanding of what is involved in SEO to be able to reach an appropriate agreement, and I know this because I come across many small businesses on the workshops I run at the British Library’s BIPC.
    The product does not discuss deep linking or anything so theoretical. The practice of deep linking is so widespread that I would not dream of advising anyone against it.
    Nor is the product aiming to provide an international contract in the way you indicate. SEO is international, but the laws relating to contracts are all local. So we provide the product, and leave it to lawyers in other jurisdictions to create a contract/approve the contract that comes with our product for use by people based in a give country. We have structured it in such a way, that they would then use a contract approved by a local lawyer and on terms provided by the local lawyer.


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