Friday fantasies

No new forthcoming events were added this week, but there are still plenty of excellent events in the pipeline, so do remember to check them out on the IPKat's Forthcoming Events page here.

The Kat is having a bad caption
day. Can anyone come up with
a good one?
Around the blogs.  The IPKat's attention has been drawn to Digital Copyright Canada, which operates under the banner of 'All Canadian Citizens are "Rights Holders"!'  Like most things digital, its interest transcends even Canada's ample borders, so do take a look if you are a digital copyright consumer/producer.  The weblog of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, jiplp, carries a stern warning about plagiarism and the use of unattributed sources -- two things which are temptingly easy to do in the digital environment.  MARQUES's Class 46 European trade mark weblog asks readers for their advice on registering a trade mark so that you can give it to a friend as a present, but readers are either still on holiday or are waiting for someone else to post the first comment.  Class 99, the design law weblog, has spotted a reference to the Court of Justice of some interesting questions on registered Community design infringement.  The 1709 Blog, dedicated to copyright, hosts a neat note from Hector MacQueen on some repercussions for copyright of a newly-published Scottish Law Commission Discussion Paper on "Prescription and Title to Moveable Property".

IPKat weblog reader Ton van der Reijken writes to remind us that Nominet -- the UK registry for domain names --  will be offering short domain names to registered trade mark owners.  Rules and guidance here; register here.

Regarding this weblog's recent post on the Court of Justice ruling in the battle over Bavaria beer ("Court upholds Dutch Claim to Bavaria", here), the Kats have received a thoughtful missive from their friend, scholar and trade mark diplomat extraordinaire, Alexander von Mühlendahl.  Alex writes:
"First of all, BAYERISCHES BIER is a traditional Bavarian specialty since the 16th century at least, and in my humble opinion a beer brewer in Holland should have chosen a name different from "Bavaria", thus staying away from profiting from the name and reputation of "Bavarian" [An admirable sentiment, though not one which is expressed in European Union trade mark legislation. Would we say the same if for 'Holland' we substituted 'United States' and for 'Bavaria' we substituted 'Budweiser'?  Budweis beer was brewed in Bohemia since 1265.  However, it is now clear that the Danes, French, Germans and Britss should have opted for a name other than Feta for their feta ...].

Second, the first Bavarian case - C-343/07 - upheld the validity of the registration of BAYERISCHES BIER as a PGI, and it did not hold that the Dutch were entitled to use their mark in Italy. That issue is currently before the Italian courts.[In legal terms Alex is absolutely correct; the Court of Justice only makes a preliminary ruling, and then it's up to the referring court to apply the law: but the right to use the Dutch Bavaria trade mark in Italy has already been conferred by Der Spiegel and Reuters, and no-one seems to be betting on a win for the real Bavarians].

Nota bene: Under a bilateral German-Italian treaty for the protection of GIs, concluded in 1963!, Bayerisches Bier has always been reserved to German products in Italy. [Quite rightly so! This Kat would defend the reservation of this right to German products too]

Third, the ECJ's newest foray into the conflicts between trade marks and GIs, the second Bavarian judgment of 22 December 2010, merely held that the Dutch-origin mark could not be cancelled on the grounds of Article 14 of Regulation 2081/92. But no more: prior to the registration of BAYERISCHES BIER (or the publication of the registration) German law applied, and nothing in the Court's judgment precludes German courts from applying to a mark applied for or registered in (or with effect in) Germany the rules of German law. Under German law applicable until the protection at EU level became effective there should not be any doubt that the registration of the Dutch Bavarian mark could have been cancelled. And this may well still happen now.[The Kat suspects that one or two readers may wish to comment on this point]

As IP lawyers we know, by the way, that the principle first-in-time = first-in-right, also called the priority principle, has so far not ever been interpreted as meaning that where two marks or signs are in conflict, the date of publication of registration is decisive. The ECJ could have held that the date of application for registration was decisive - it did not, instead choosing for BAYERISCHES BIER the latest possible date of all dates. We should be wary before applauding such a novel notion.  Thus the cases are not yet over, and certainly not yet resolved n favour of the Dutch Bavarians".

The British New Years Honours List for 2011 went public this morning (you can check it out in full here) -- and it didn't have a great deal of cheer for the private sector of the innovation community. Dr John Crawshaw Taylor, an inventor, was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to business and to horology.  The holder of over 150 patents, Dr J's innovations led to the sale of over 200 million Strix thermostat controls for electric kettles (used over a billion times a day by over 20% of the world's population).  He is also a noted philanthropist, though there is now public record as to how much money he has invested in the services of intellectual property practitioners.  Six good souls from the government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also picked up honours: on Knight Bachelor, one Companion of the Bath, one CBE, one OBE and two MBEs -- which presumably shows that we are better at administering innovation than at doing it.  Congratulations, everyone!
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, December 31, 2010 Rating: 5

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