Friday fantasies

Friday again -- time to check the IPKat's Forthcoming Events sidebar. Whether you do or don't, the IPKat, Merpel, Tufty and the AmeriKat all wish you a lovely weekend.

NOTE: In the original version of Neil's post this morning, "Is rebranding the key to reversing BlackBerry's fortunes?", here, some of the links were broken. All have since been corrected. Thanks for your patience and your understanding. Unless you haven't yet discovered that they were broken, that is ...

At least one member of the IPKat team is old enough to have fond memories of cult musician, satirist and social commentator Frank Zappa, despite his strange choice of names for his children (Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen). The great man may be dead, but at least his surname lives on, in the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf, which ruled against the Zappa Family Trust (20 U 48/09) in its trade mark infringement action against a group of Zappa fans. The Trust, which owned the ZAPPA Community trade mark, objected to the annual "Zappanale", a meeting of Zappa fans which involved many uses of the Zappa name and image. However it appears that the Trust had used the word "Zappa" only as part of the "official" Zappa website, which operated from the US. According to the court, reversing the decision of the Landgericht, this was not genuine use of the trade mark in the EU under Article 15(1) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation. The court added that the use of a mark in a domain name may be sufficient to constitute genuine use in principle, but that here the public would consider the use of the word Zappa as a general descriptive reference, not as a reference to the trade mark owner (Thank you Guido Westkamp for this info. Guido is writing a current intelligence note for JIPLP on this very case).

Usually the IPKat is very pleased to hear that a dispute is settled, but he is feeling highly aggrieved that Monsanto Co., the world s largest seed company, has dropped its action to bar imports of Argentine soybean meal into Europe after settling with its bitter foes Cefetra and Alfred C. Toepfer International. According to the Kat's well-informed friend Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg), Monsanto withdrew its claim from the District Court of The Hague just a few short days before the Court of Justice was due to rule on 6 July on whether Monsanto could invoke its European patents to block imports of soybean meal from Argentina (on which, see earlier posts on the IPKat here and on jiplp here, as well as Michael Kock's mega-analysis of the Advocate General's Opinion in Case C-428/08 here).

If you don't like the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and wish to express your disapproval of it, you can add your name to a growing list of famous people, etc etc who support the Urgent Communique organised by the American University's Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. If you want to endorse this statement, you can just click here and follow the instructions in French, Korean, Portuguese or Spanish. If you are a Member of the European Parliament you may have already spotted another anti-ACTA list to sign, here. If however you want to support ACTA you'll have to start your own list, because there doesn't seem to be one. In fact, the mobilisation of public support in favour of ACTA would appear to be a non-starter. Could there be any reason for this, muses the IPKat, quite innocently ...

Not content with importing convicts from England, Australia has decided to create a few of its own. From Mark Summerfield comes news that Deckers, which owns the UGG brand of sheepskin boots, has succeeded in getting three of its most persistent trade mark and copyright infringers thrown into prison for up to three years for contempt of court. The Kat hopes you didn't think UGG was a generic term.

Around the publications. The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law has just released the fourth and final issue of its ninth volume (here). It contains, among other things, articles on (i) the US Supreme Court’s damages analysis in Lucent v Microsoft from an economist’s perspective which proposes new guidelines for evaluating patent damages in concentrated, high tech industries and (ii) the evolution of quilts from utility items to works of art proposing strong copyright law protection for quilt designs. Yippee, says the IPKat. Meanwhile, the July 2010 issue of the Sweet & Maxwell monthly European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR) is also out, with a really important article by Christian Koenig and Ana Trias on the harmonisation of standard-setting procedures within and between the US and the EU. The IPKat has also received the June issue of Informa's Intellectual Property Magazine (here), which is a special Counterfeit Issue. Finally, readers are advised to take an occasional look at the Journal of European Competition Law & Practice (JECLAP). Although it's not officially an IP journal, the subject matter dictates that it will inevitably touch on IP topics. In the current (June 2010) issue, for example, leading scholar Joseph Straus writes on "Patent Application: Obstacle for Innovation and Abuse of Dominant Position under Article 102 TFEU?". The author challenges the premise that the European Commission may bring abuse of dominant position actions against firms filing patent applications, asking if these actions have any legal basis in EC law.

The proposed British standard for IP services has already been mentioned in this weblog here and on SOLO IP. Insight, the e-magazine of the UK's Intellectual Property Office, has now alerted its readers to the proposal and has reminded them that it is still possible to comment on them until 31 July 2010. Thank you Ronald Camp (Kilburn & Strode), for drawing this to the Kat's attention.
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, July 02, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. And if you look at the UK IPO Trade Mark journal this week....

    2 more UGG - derivative marks published for opposition purposes!

  2. “The IPKat has also received the June issue of Informa's Intellectual Property Magazine, which is a special Counterfeit Issue.”

    As a champion of IP rights, I would expect the Kat to settle for no less than an authentic issue!


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