Monday miscellany

Today is rumoured to be National Bilski Day in the United States (if you've never heard of Bernard L. Bilski or the patent application that bears his name, click here). The decision of the United States Supreme Court has been promised and/or predicted for June 2010 -- and days are running out fast. The IPKat expects that every patent-flavoured weblog is going to be reporting on this decision, which will have business method patent enthusiasts carefully reading every line, not to mention the spaces between the lines.

Right: Rand A Warsaw, joint inventor of the energy-risk hedging patent with Bernard L. Bilski, and a victim of Back-end Alphabet Syndrome. If his name was Rand A. Aardvark, would we be waiting for In re Aardvark -- and would no-one ever have heard of Bilski?

Readers' objectives will range from (i) trying to understand what the decision means per se, (ii) what it means for business method patents already granted and for application for them which are in the pipeline and (iii) repackaging the court's message into a client-friendly format to (iv) imposing their own preferences upon the court's words in order to bend their decision to their own ends. The IPKat will no doubt have a word or two, so watch this space ...

From Euroalert comes news of fresh proposals to encourage cross-border e-trading by building consumer trust. These proposals, which have been approved by the Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament, include the establishment of a European trust label "to guarantee the reliability and quality of goods placed on the cross-border electronic market and encourage consumers to buy in this market". The IPKat looks forward to seeing what the European trust label is going to look like. Merpel wonders whether consumers will trust it as a matter of blind faith, or whether the "trust" element of the trust label is something which the Commission will have to earn.

Most of us have now heard rather more about vuvuzelas than we ever wanted to. But here's a post -- in the original Bulgarian -- from the IPKat's friend and fellow blogger Ventsi Stoilov on the protectability of the vuvuzela as a registered trade mark. In short, in 2004 a South African company registered the Community trade mark VUVUZELA (no.004 140 075) for goods in Classes 15 and 28, while a German company registered a word-and-image Community mark Vuvuzela (no.008404741) for goods and services in Classes 15, 25, 28, 35 and 41. There's also an application by a German company for international registration of VUVUZELA (no.1040869) for food. Says the IPKat, given the fact that vuvuzelas are reckoned to be noxious noise-makers (see typical consumer reactions here, here and, if you forgive the misplaced apostrophe, here), one wonders whether the association of goods or services with the v-word is a sort of aversion therapy. Merpel's not so sure: the fact that something is annoying doesn't mean that it doesn't have positive brand value too. Remember Crazy Frog.

While the IPKat is a great admirer of the Intellectual Property Office in the UK, he is also a great believer -- particularly after years of dealing with lawyers and students doing exams -- that questions should be answered as clearly and directly as possible. Here's a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act from the IPO concerning its top earners, together with an entirely correct but largely uninformative response. Why, the Kat wonders, couldn't the Office just answer the questions? What do readers think?
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, June 28, 2010 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. I'm quite happy to see that the UK IPO doesn't waste too much of my taxes preparing lengthy responses to pointless Freedom of Information Act requests. As they say, the requested information is clearly set out in the annual accounts. I'm somewhat appalled that the government requires them to indulge troublemakers with even this degree of response.


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