Friday extras

A press release today from the UK's Intellectual Property Office informs the IPKat that the new database of fast-tracked green inventions, designed to help the development of environmentally-friendly technology, was launched today by new Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox. The launch is designed to coincide with World Environment Day (tomorrow). Said Baroness W:
"This new database will provide businesses with easy access to green ideas and inventions. I want to ensure the UK is at the cutting-edge of low-carbon technology and industries".
The IPO's initiatives towards a green and sustainable patent system are commendable. Rumour has it that nearly 100% of the UK's patent examiners are now biodegradable.

The IPKat's attention has been attracted by CT Corsearch’s new Trademarks and Brands blog. He suspects that there might be an element of marketing here, but believes that any blog should be judged on the basis of its content, not the existence of any ulterior motives for writing it. So far, this one looks quite promising.

Something else that attracted the attention of the same feline was a Tweet from the IPKat's friend, the eminent German scholar and commentator Axel Horns (right), asking "Does anyone know details about 'POLCOM Secretariat' of the EU Council?" To his acute embarrassment the Kat confesses he hasn't ever heard of this Secretariat, which seems to have an involvement in matters relating to ACTA. Nor does the normally informative Google seem to have much to say on the subject. Can any knowledgeable reader help?

IP practitioners can now do some of their continuing professional development (CPD) by listening to a monthly podcast and completing a short multichoice questionnaire. The IPso Jure Lawcast is produced each month by Peter Groves, a solicitor with nearly 30 years’ experience in the field and the author of several books and many articles, covering the important developments affecting practitioners in England. The May 2010 programme (now online) covers, inter alia, (i) a failed attempt to use the tort of causing unfair harm by unlawful means, where there was no IP to rely on; (ii) the Advocate General finding levies on equipment and media incompatible with the Information Society Directive; (iii) a replica of Henry the vacuum cleaner that infringed no design rights but fell foul of passing-off law; (iv) the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal rejecting the referral of questions about computer-implemented inventions; (v) a patent application being found obvious against a Pedrick patent and (vi) the Court of Appeal reluctantly following the Court of Justice in L’Oréal v Bellure. The audio files can be downloaded free of charge, but for CPD you’ll have to register and pay a modest fee (£25 plus VAT per programme, £240 plus VAT a year (12 programmes each worth one hour CPD), £200 plus VAT for the first year if you subscribe by the end of June). You can try as much as you like without having to buy anything. Links to the audio files, and the accompanying notes, are here, where you can also find the full terms and conditions. The Lawcasts are accredited for CPD by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and solicitors can do 12 hours CPD per year by distance learning means. Barristers, patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys can also meet some of their CPD requirements this way. Well done, Peter!

In "A fable for modern times" the IPKat reported on the decision of Mr Justice Kitchin in a copyright dispute between 20th Century Fox and Newzbin in which he concluded that Usenet-based Newzbin was infringing copyright in Fox films by facilitating their downloading by users of its service, this being an act of "making available to the public". The Kat has just heard from his friend Piter de Weerd that this decision was explicitly referred to and indeed applied in FTD BV v Eyeworks, a decision of the Hague District Court, Judgment in Preliminary Proceedings of 2 June 2010, KG ZA 10-639. More details are available from the excellent Boek 9 weblog here.
Friday extras Friday extras Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, June 04, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. If I remember rightly POLCOM is the political committee and consists of the representatives of the member states which prepare formal council meetings. It's not found in the treaties and is somewhat shrouded in mystery.

  2. Using Epoline one can find many cases where Pedrick patents have been cited against others. Such as:

    I guess the appicants were rightly astonished.

  3. The Dutch judge indeed referred to the Newzbin decision, but it is a complete mystery how Kitchin's reasoning could conceivably support his own reasoning.

    Kitchin reasons that Newzbin "authorised" illegal copying by premium members in the form of downloading. However, Dutch law doesn't seem to have this concept of infringement by "authorisation", and Dutch law permits (non-commercial) downloading.

    Kitchin also placed great importance on Newzbin features such as an "NZB button", which however FTD lacks.

    The Dutch judge actually found that FTD was "publishing" the work (rather than copying) by not removing announcements on where on Usenet the work could be found, since the announcements make it possible or at least easier to download the work. There is a lot of Dutch (and German) case law stating that hyperlinks to a copyrighted work do not infringe the copyright. In this case, the announcements are not even (clickable) hyperlinks.

    The present verdict very plainly makes no sense. FTD might be acting illegally, but it is not infringing copyright according to Dutch law. If the verdict were correct, it would be illegal to publish a manual on Usenet or even to provide an internet connection, since both acts make downloading possible or at least easier...

    PS: it's either "Pieter" or "Peter", not "Piter".

  4. @Anonymous 5 June, 1300pm

    Thanks for your detailed observations on the Dutch decision in this case, which raise some important issues.

    Thanks also for your comment regarding my mis-spelling of Mr de Weerd's forename as Piter. Perhaps you might like to tell him too, since he has been making the same mistake for years in his emails, and even his law firm gets it wrong: I wonder if his parents got it wrong too ...

  5. My apologies! I should obviously have used Google to verify the spelling.

    Only 131 Dutch persons have Piter as a first name, according to this source. This is the first time I hear of the name (or rather, I have failed to spot it before). By comparison, 106317 Dutch males are called Pieter and 80546 Dutch males are called Peter.

    No, I will not say that his parents made a mistake ;)


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