Friday fantasies

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled.
"Why stay you there", his crew-mates cried,
"When danger lies ahead?"

"I cannot leave", the young man said,
"I won't desert my post!
I'm checking on the IPKat's site
Th'events I like the most.

The list upon the sidebar
Is full of gems galore --
Conf'rences and seminars
On thrice-bless'd IP law!"

Yesterday, in "A Press-ing Problem", the IPKat bemoaned the poor quality of the intellectual property media and press releases which he receives from so many people. If enough people were interested, said the Kat, he'd run a little course on how to write decent ones. So far, he has had a good response -- but half the people who have emailed him to ask to be put on his list are those who already prepare quite good ones, and not a single person from his "offenders list" has contacted him. That already speaks volumes for the comparison between those who take their media releases seriously and those who couldn't care less. If you're interested in participating in a "how to put together a decent press release" seminar, email here, with the subject line 'IP Press Release'.

US-based free patent information provider Priorsmart, which also tracks patent-related blogs and news, has started sending out a daily email listing all the US patent infringements, including free pdf complaints. For details of this service, email here. The IPKat has seen a couple of these listings and is a little embarrassed to confess how few of the litigants are known to him ...

Latest report on British IP crime. The UK's Intellectual Property Office has now published the IP Crime Group's annual report for 2009/10, which provides an overview of the current scale of IP crime and what is being done about it. Noting that it remains difficult to establish the likely impact of IP crime accurately, not least since such activities tend to take place outside the formal economy, the report records an increase in the coordination of enforcement activities and information between rights-holders, the government and enforcement agencies. The result is a greater level of public awareness, more convictions, and more infringers forced to regurgitate their ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. IP Minister Baroness Wilcox is getting ready to deal with the real villains, though:
"The real key to beating this threat is the public. People must refuse to buy anything they suspect is not genuine and report the seller to their trading standards or police.".
The report is 64 pages long and you can read it here. IPO press release here.

Around the journals. The latest issue of JIPITEC, the a new Online Journal for current issues of intellectual property, information technology and E-commerce law, is now available: check it out! The August 2010 issue of Sweet & Maxwell's monthly European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR) is out too, with a review by the China Patent Office's Yong-Kang Yang of the term "national treatment" in Art.2(1) of the Paris Convention and Patricia Akester's look at the realities of striking a balance between copyright protection and UNESCO's baby -- access to knowledge, information and culture. Always ahead of its cover date, the August-September World Trademark Review (contents here) has a distinctively Chinese flavour to it, but there's plenty more besides, including an international design and trade dress survey. Oh, I nearly forgot -- the July issue of Intellectual Property Magazine (here) has lots of short, attractively illustrated pieces across the range of IP.

Around the blogs. Miri Frankel, who already contributes to the IP Finance weblog, is joining the 1709 Blog team too, where she will offer some welcome US perspectives. Excess Copyright speculates on the deeper meaning and potential for protection of the term "English Muffin"; the IPKat chooses not to delve too far, since Wikipedia associates muffins with crumpets and both have, er, overtones. Frank Zappa fans will recall the prime significance of this delicacy, recorded not merely in the name of one of his children but in Muffin Man, the lyrics of which contain the immortal stanza "Girl, you thought he was a man/But he was a muffin".

Pharma linkage
. A friend of the IPKat works in the area of pharmaceutical linkage regulations which tie drug approval to drug patenting. He works in Canada, where the relevant domestic regime, in force since 1993, is was modelled after the US Hatch-Waxman regime, and he is putting together an application for a grant to study linkage regimes globally. He asks:
"Is there a parallel system in the UK or EU? Has one ever been debated, or is one currently being debated?"
If you'd like to comment -- or indeed to get in touch with the Kat's correspondent -- please post accordingly below.
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, July 30, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. As to the pharma linkage enquiry, the pharmaceuticals regulatory regime that applies throughout the EU does not provide for this, and indeed the European Commission considers that it would be contrary to EU medicines legislation for medicines regulators in the EU to take account of patent status. The EU medicines regulatory data protection regime (which provides a longer term of protection than that in the USA) was last revised in 2004 and the issue was not to my knowledge canvassed then. I would be happy to respond to your correspondent in more detail if he sends me an email.

  2. Not so fast Trevor. Some European countries provide for a quasi-linkage system (admittedly notwithstanding the fact that Dir 2001/83 and Reg 726/2004 says that linkage is unlawful). Italy is a good example. Further details contained in the infamous Preliminary Report of the Pharma Sector Enquiry, pages 261-262, paras 714-716. The report also contains a case study on patent linkage in Portugal on page 276.

    Ok, this may not be linkage in the pure sense (as in the Hatch Waxman system in the USA or the PMNOC system in Canada, for example), but the quasi-linkage systems mentioned in the Report are a far cry from the "no linkage" system that both exists in the UK, for example, and is what the European legislators had probably envisaged when the undertook the Pharma review.

  3. Regarding the IP crime report, couldn't resist commenting after reading it. Isn't it ironic though how over the years, almost every IP minister who comes along will 'indulge' in some tough talk about tackling IP crime etc etc, whereas on the ground the situation couldn't be more different. What progress are they referring to? I'll give you a simple example: I live and work in Manchester, and over the years (roughly over a period of 4 or so years), I sometimes go out for a curry along the 'curry mile' in Rusholme with friends / family. The area is quite popular for curries, and there are tons of outlets. There are 2 or 3 takeaway / restaurants in particular that I have a preference for. Yet, in these 4 years, 8 out of 10 times I always manage to meet this Asian looking man, who clearly sells pirated DVD (for chicken feed in comparison to their retail prices). And there are probably hundreds more elsewhere selling such things. Now, in 4 years, you'd think that the law would have caught up with him somehow, but it doesn't appear that way. Anyhow, what chances do they have of reducing IP crime, if they think that tackling IP crime means intercepting a truckload of counterfiet lingerie from Hungary, while turning a blind eye to the high street hustler? Oh, dont forget to factor out the effect of the budget cuts ...


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