Wednesday whimsies, or a tale of three Lams ...

Left to right: Lavinia Carey (British Video Association),
IPKat team member Jeremy and ex-IP Minister David Lammy MP
The photo above was taken at the recent All Party Parliamentary IP Group reception at the Dining Room of the House of Commons in London's Houses of Parliament.  Former Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy MP has evidently riveted the attention of his audience -- but what this photo needs more than a ministerial presence is a brilliant and incisive caption.  If you can come up with a stunner, you may be the lucky soul to win complimentary registration to IBC Legal Conferences' 19th Annual Biotech and Pharmaceutical Patent Conference in Munich, Germany (programme here).  This is no little prize, since registration comes at £1,499 plus VAT at the German rate of 19% -- but the winner still has to get there, and may need to buy his own snow-plough in order to do so.  Email your entries to the IPKat here, with the charming subject-line 'LammyPat', by not later than close of play on Sunday 16 January 2011.

The Welsh Killer Sheep, trained from the cradle
to go for the jugular. This is why there are no
longer any lions in the Welsh hillsides
From Lammy to Lamby.  The good news from Wales is that, while the European Commission has not yet tabled a proposal calling for all European-ish patents to be translated into Welsh, it has at least approved a Regulation which implements an application to make non-minor amendments to the Protected Geographical Indication specification for a product known as "Welsh Lamb”.  Among other things, that term must appear on carcases, parts of carcases or cuts in combination with the HCC registered trade mark for Welsh lamb and the PGI symbol. Another amendment is the removal from the specification of the word "bred", apparently "to reduce confusion about the meaning of the word ‘bred"".  While the Kat gasps with astonishment and wonders which part of the word "bred" the Welsh are likely to confused about, Merpel gasps with astonishment that elsewhere in the same specification there is now inserted the phrase "‘for prime lamb production i.e. lambs that have not bred".

And if it doesn't
work, just hit the
This can change your life.  On Monday the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a new online tool to assist in filing international trade mark applications.  It's called the Madrid System Goods & Services Manager (G&S Manager) and is rumoured to be able to help trade mark applicants compile those tricky lists of goods and services that must be submitted when filing an international application under the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks.

The Santa Brand.  If you read nothing else, says the IPKat, you must read this set of specifications for the Santa Brand, contained in the deliciously thoughtful Santa Brandbook from Quietroom.  A thousand thanks to the modest, self-effacing, self-designated "sad librarian" Chris Torrero for the link, and indeed for the many other links he has supplied over the past months and beyond.

Recently-patented blades
generate wind power
while simultaneously
dispelling clouds of
Request for advice.  A PhD student from a respectable university institution has written to this weblog for help in obtaining some assistance.  He writes
"I have been reading your post for a while.  I am a PhD student in IP and new technologies. Recently I have been asked to write an article in Spanish for a Colombian energy and law journal on IP and the Gas-Electricity market. Can you give any information related to the issue? It does not matter how long it is, so long as it's the sort of article that will really explore the relationship between the IP and the energy and gas market".
Kind readers who wish to recommend their own or anyone else's articles may do so by posting the information before, or they can email our enthusiastic reader here.

More on St Columba again.  In yesterday's post here on the forthcoming Irish review of copyright in the digital thingy, the IPKat described this saint as "daringly copying a restricted-access public domain work", asking, "If he lived today, would he be the patron saint of Google Book and Wikileaks?"  He has since received a response from his amiable and decidedly scholarly friend George Souter (of not Lamb or Lammy but Lammi & Partners). Writes George:
"Did St Columba really start the trend? I was brought up with the legend that the “to every cow its calf, to every book its copy” decision in the St Columba case was the fount of copyright law”.
There's nothing like a bit of library-
based research, says the Kat
At this point IPKat team member Jeremy dons his old academic hat and excitedly draws attention to some research he did on the St Columba case.  The goodly saint was given access to a psalter that was in the possession of Abbot Finian in around the year 560.  A psalter is a book of psalms -- definitely public domain stuff, having been compiled during the reign of King David, who is generally reckoned to have died around 970 years before the common era.  Even on a life + 70 year basis, copyright would have expired around getting on for 1,500 years before Columba came on to the scene.  Having illicitly copied the psalter he refused to deliver it up to King Dermot of Tara, who famously said “to every cow its calf, to every book its copy” -- not "to every cow its calf, to every author his work".  Anyway, to cut a long story short, Columba refused to hand it over, fled the country for the safety of England (like the founder of Wikileaks), converted the Picts to Christianity, settled in Iona and became a saint.  You can read this all in "St Columba the Copyright Infringer" [1985] 12 European Intellectual Property Review 350-353.

Anyone for tea? The Hindu Business Line reports that not everyone in India is happy with the present arrangement there for the protection of Darjeeling Tea and Tirupathi Laddu as geographical indications (GIs).  Two petitions for rectification of the GI register and possible removal of those appellations have been filed with the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, has taken cognisance of two petitions for ‘rectification' and possible removal of Geographical Indication (GI) tags with respect to two entries in the GI Registry. Under s.11(1) of the Geographical Indication of Goods Act 1999 an application for registration should originate from association of persons or producers, or any organisation or authority established by or under law for the time being in force representing the interest of the producers of the concerned goods. In the case of Darjeeling Tea, however, India's Tea Board, a statutory body set up to regulate exports and trade is arguably not however "part of its value chain and/or its producer".  This is the work of none other than Mr R.S. Praveen Raj, the Secular Citizen himself and in indefatigable champion of various causes.  The Kat suspects that he has not heard the last of this adventure.
Wednesday whimsies, or a tale of three Lams ... Wednesday whimsies, or a tale of three Lams ... Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. I assume that St Columba would have been coping St Jerome's latin translation of the Psalms. This being so, it would have been out-of-copyright for a mere 69 years, 491AD being the 71st year post mortem auctoris (as Jerome himself would have put it).

    We've got journals older than that on our office bookshelf!

  2. Not so fast, anonymous -- if you're referring to St Jerome's work on the Vulgate, it was more of an editorial tidy-up of the Vetus Latina. I think we'd have to decide whether it was an original literary work (Sawkins v Hyperion hadn't been decided then). St Jerome's psalter could however have been the one based on the Septuagint -- but it could also be based on the original Hebrew, since St J was a Hebrew scholar too.

  3. Ho ho ho - the "Santa Brandbook" is hilarious. I especially enjoyed the "how to communicate on-brand" section on page 9.

  4. I wonder whether Finian (assuming he was capable of transcending space and time) had misled himself into thinking there was "perpetual*" copyright in the Psalms, having confused it with the Authorized translation, or indeed the psalter at the back of the Book of Common Prayer.
    [*perpetuity now ending in 2039, thanks to Sch. 1, CDPA 1988].

  5. Santa Brandbook - superb! The Venn diagrams did it for me.

    And thanks for the Welsh Killer Sheep - another classic image guaranteed to rob me of my sleep alongside the Great White Kat of recent posting.

    And while I'm here - RIP Captain Beefheart, mere weeks after you, rather mystifyingly, reproduced the sleeve of Trout Mask Replica in a post. Coincidence?

    My favourite Capatain B quote:
    "Frank Zappa? You mean that guy who looks like a fly's leg?"

    Frank and the Captain together again somewhere, and probably still not talking to one another.


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