Monday miscellany

The IPKat thanks his good friend Miguel Angel Medina, of the excellent MARQUES Geographical Indications Team, for this link to E-SPIRIT-DRINKS, "the database on geographical indications protected in the European Community for spirits originating in Member States and third countries" which comes from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.  The IPKat is so pleased that he can find almost every out about these spirits -- whose names can carry a more powerful punch than their contents -- except who's going to buy him the next one.  Merpel thinks this is misplaced: GIs for alcoholic drinks look miscast in the area of "agriculture and rural development" and would belong more comfortably at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), surely.

Around the blogs. IPKat team member Neil has been sounding off on the IP Finance weblog here on the dangers of reading too much into patent data (in "Patent Data and Innovation: Once Again, So Much and Yet So Little").  The Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice's jiplp weblog is keenly seeking input from readers as to which topics within the current range of issues covered by ACTA they most want covered in the journal.  Some suggestions have already been received, here.  PatLit is still seeking earnest recruits (see earlier post here). No longer in need of recruits is the newly hyper-active IP Tango, which has had a recent infusion of blogging blood and is just coming up to its 300th email subscriber.  If you fancy a bit of English-Spanish bilingual IP blogging -- check it out here!

One of the IPKat's favourite correspondents, a thoughtful and sensitive senior member of the staff of OHIM whose continued success in that body presumably depends on his contributions to this weblog remaining anonymous, has drawn the Kats' attention to what the acronym OHIM really stands for. How appropriate, given the day on which this item is posted.

Being something of a classical scholar, this Kat followed with keen interest the difficult relationship of Dido and Aeneas; he was thus greatly shocked to read the very non-Virgilian headline "Dido Sued by Astronaut for Using Space Flight Picture", attached to this Bloomberg feature sent to him by his learned friend Simon Bradshaw.  The case is Bruce McCandless v. Sony Music Entertainment, 10-07323, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles) and the alleged wrong consists in the unauthorized use of a photo of his 1984 space flight for the cover of her 2008 album “Safe Trip Home”. McCandless said he never gave permission for Dido to use the photograph, which shows him “free flying” about 320 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger.

The IPKat thinks this is a case of mistaken
identity: the wee chappie illustrated
here is actually The Stig
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names Sony Music Entertainment and Getty Images Inc. as defendants [Gosh, says Merpel, I thought Getty always had to be the plaintiffs ...].  The photograph was said to be taken when McCandless tested the so-called manned manoeuvering unit, a nitrogen jet propelled backpack.
The suit does not allege copyright infringement, only infringement of McCandless's persona. As Simon explains,
"There's clearly no case in copyright law as NASA pictures are, by US Government policy, in the public domain".

Simon adds a further thought of his own:
"Leaving aside the extent to which a US (as distinct from English) court is likely to give weight to protection of likeness, is that there's no likeness to protect. It's a picture of a person in a spacesuit! Unless (like me, admittedly) you are a serious space geek, you won't even recognise it as the claimant".

Many Londoners have first-hand experience
of being trapped beneath the ground
in soaring temperatures for lengthy periods ... 
We Kats all pray for the safe delivery of the Chilean miners who have been trapped underground since August. However, it seems that one of the things that these unfortunate souls have done, to take their minds off their plight and prepare for their future, is to take a crash course in intellectual property law. Via the IPKat's valued friend Ruth Soetendorp comes news of the following Sydney Morning Herald report:
"There was an argument about who would be the last rescued, while some of them wanted a lawyer to draw up an agreement to trademark the rights for the phrase ''Los 33''. Others want a mutual pact of silence."
'Nuff said.
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, October 11, 2010 Rating: 5

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