Wednesday whimsies

It's getting on for five months since the Court of Justice of the European Union gave its ruling in Case C-278/08 Die BergSpechte Outdoor Reisen und Alpinschule Edi Koblmüller GmbH v Günter Guni and Reisen GmbH (see the IPKat here) -- the court's other ruling on the use of trade marks and other allusive symbols as keywords in the same week as it gave its famous ruling in the three Google France cases (noted by the IPKat here). The Kat has now learned that the Austrian Supreme Court, which referred the case to the Court of Justice, has now handed down its decision in BergSpechte, holding that internet advertisements which don't contain a third party trade mark will be unlawful where they cause a likelihood of confusion. For a really good analysis this decision see the excellent post on Austrotrabant here.

Does the TRIPS agreement have principles and objectives? We all have our pet answers to this question, based on our preferences and prejudices. If you want an unfashionably positive and upbeat assessment of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, emphasising that TRIPS is not so much a straitjacket which confines the aspirations of the have-nots as a flexible formula that grows with all its users' interests, Professor Peter Yu's article "The Objectives and Principles of the TRIPS Agreement" makes good reading. You can find it in (2009) 46 Houston Law Review No.4, 890-1046. The IPKat is still sore at the fact that TRIPS ducked out of the most trade-related issue there is for IP rights, which is exhaustion. Talking of ducks, says Merpel, does anyone know why the shield on the Houston Law Review cover contains, in addition to the word "Lex", the silhouettes of three ducks? They're not all called Lex, surely!

Around the blogs. When he said "This is for your summertime amusement", the IPKat's friend, lawyer and blogger Robert Carolina was right. Here's a sweet little piece from his blog (Internet Borders, archived back to July 2009) entitled "What is this Internet thing and how do we shut it down?". This blog, intriguingly, is dedicated to what Rob calls the new paradigm: "(1) the cyberspace "frontier" has closed; (2) state borders apply to the Internet; (3) the Internet is de-globalizing. What this means for policy makers, business people, and "netizens". Another blog to which the Kat has just been introduced is K's Law, a visually striking and culturally stimulating weblog dedicated to the case law of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office. The author, Oliver Randl, works in Michelin's patent department but, clearly, does not tire in his pursuit of patent truths. Says the IPKat, if you love patents this blog is well worth a visit or three.

In case you thought patent attorneys are nothing more than money-grabbing mercenaries, you're right. It appears that three employees of Glasgow-headquartered patent attorneys Murgitroyd & Company, tired of taking money merely off their clients, have decided to relieve everyone else of their financial assets too, by cycling to all of the firm's continental European offices. Having left Helsinki on 7 August, they expect to arrive in Nice on 3 September. The Peddling Trio of Steven McIlroy, Douglas Drysdale and Stephen Ramsay seek to raise funds for two very worthwhile causes: 'Re-Cycle' (a UK charity committed to providing cheap sustainable bicycle transport for the poor all over Africa) and the Nazareth House orphanage in South Africa. You can see how far they have got on their rather neat live-tracking website here, which is also where you have to go if you want to make a donation. Merpel says, now I know why the firm hasn't opened an office in Moscow yet ...

The IPKat has just been reading about DomainMasters, a start-up company that seeks to deliver both domain name and trade mark registration services to its customers via a single “merged” application for use on the web. Our website is still under construction, but almost completed. There's also a DomainNews newsletter, from which readers can gather tidbits of information they may find handy. You can get details from Ton van der Reijken. The IPKat gives his blessing to all new IP start-ups and hopes they'll do well. Merpel says, isn't there more than one company out there in cyberspace which is trading as DomainMasters ...?
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. I've just noticed a remarkable coincidence. The Houston Law Review shield has three ducks on it -- and Professor Yu holds a chair at (wait for it ...) Drake University!

  2. According to Michelle Gray, Editor of the Houston Law Journal, the three martlets symbolize peace and deliverance and also appear in the University of Houston seal – which in turn is drawn from the coat of arms of General Sam Houston who claimed descent from Sir Hugh of Padavan, an 11th century Norman knight.

  3. Kindly post the english translation of the Austrian Supreme Court decision on keyword advertising. Thanks.

  4. @Anomymous: I've asked for an English translation of BergSpechte and hope to receive it soon.

  5. I am unable to lay my hands even at the original decision. Appears to be unreported.


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