Wednesday whimsies

CPA's State of the IP Industry 2010 survey has been launched -- the closing date for completing it is World IP Day, Monday 26 April. Results will be released at this year’s INTA conference in Boston, Massachusetts, and will be available on CPA's IP Review website (here) from 24 May.

Since posting Monday's news item on Top Dogs at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), here, the IPKat has received various emails from interested readers wanting to know more about the system for appointing the High and Mighty in European trade mark circles. While he's no great constitutional expert, the Kat can at least answer some of the queries posed:
Q: What actually happens at the Council of Ministers when they receive the nominations -- even if there's just one name put forward? A: At the point at which the nominations are received, the Council members (left) take a relaxing break from the solemn job of ruling Europe, put on their funny hats and, in the case of positions for which there is only a single nomination, apply fresh ink to their rubber stamps. Seriously, every such appoinment is a matter for the Council, since there must be a Council decision before any appointment is confirmed.

Q: Why was there only one name sent forward for some of the posts when the rules provide for "up to three" names to be forwarded to the Council? A: The procedural rules adopted by OHIM's Administrative Board provide that, if a candidate obtains three-quarters of the vote, that person's name is the only one that goes forward. This shows how important it is to have lots of friends on the Administrative Board or, failing that, on the Council of Ministers.

Q: What are the qualifications for the top positions at OHIM? A: Higher than the qualifications for getting on to the Council of Ministers.

The IPKat has learned that his canny friend Mike O'Keeffe (Riskmentor) has won a US$15,000 award from Article One Partners for successfully identifying patent-invalidating prior art on a Ford patent on Start-Stop technology (see press releases here and here). Mike (whose services to the IP public include the thankless chore of peer-reviewing articles for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, JIPLP) explains:
"This is the technology that allows a car to cut-out at traffic lights and restart when the clutch pedal is depressed. Here in Spain there are TV ads for Audi which show a light bulb cruising up to traffic lights and going out while waiting. It's a relatively old technology used by Audi and VW in the 1980s and is used in city buses in Japan where it is termed 'Idle-Stop'".
Well done, Mike, says the IPKat, who thinks this shows how well the marketplace can help contribute to the vibrancy of the patent system by creating incentives to weed out those that shouldn't have been there. Merpel says, I'm having some problems getting my head around the idea that something as old and as publicly-used as this should have got as far as a patent grant in the first place.

Around the blogs. "If Google paid us every time we clicked ..." is the title of a very neat piece on the 1709 Copyright Blog by Hugo Cox who observes:
" ... whether publishers own digital rights is a question that can only be determined by detailed contractual analysis. Not only can a single word turn a contract on its head but choice of law leads to different attitudes to digitization: French law is systematic, Germany’s new law is controversially retrospective, New York law and Californian law are a continent apart and English law is a barrister’s field day".
Meanwhile on the jiplp blog, London barrister Chris de Mauny (Hogarth Chambers), in "Licensing Lessons", explains how sportswear company Umbro managed to foul up what might otherwise have been a good brand exploitation opportunity by both overcomplicating and under-controlling the relations between two of its licensees.

Even if you've never been stumped by a puzzling patent, you may still be stumped by a patent attorney. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in the United Kingdom
is eagerly seeking cricket teams for its own eleven to play against. If you'd like to take up the challenge, email Stuart Lumsden here.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Further thoughts on OHIM's curious recruitment procedure on the WTR blog.

    "OHIM's perplexing management strikes again, denies Council a voice over president" here (free registration):

    Adam Smith
    World Trademark Review

  2. The qualifications for the top positions at the OHIM are not only higher than the ones required for getting on to the Council of Ministers, but also higher than the ones required for the post of President of the French Republic, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Chancellor of Germany or President of the United States. As a matter of fact, to be a simple teacher in any school you need more qualifications than for any of these posts.

    On the other hand, the qualifications and experience specified in the vacancy notice for the post of President of the OHIM, i.e., University diploma + 15 years post-graduate experience + a non specified number of years of managing responsabilities at a senior level + 2 languages of the EU, are not especially impressive for hundreds of officials of the EU, not to talk about thousands of national officials and workers of the private sector. Only among the staff of the OHIM you can find three dozen people who meet these requirements, two dozen of them with more studies, experience and languages than Mr. Campinos (who’s fluent in four languages, I think).

    Of course, these people lack the most important requirement, but this one is not mentioned in the vacancy notice.


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