Wednesday whimsies

The IPKat team just wants to say "thanks" to those kindly souls who felt that this weblog was worthy of inclusion in the ABA Journal's 4th Annual Blawg 100 Awards, among all those lovely American law blogs.  Not everybody likes or approves of these awards, it seems (see here), and one can certainly see why, but Kats are vain creatures and, in these tough times, a little harmless fun is certainly appreciated.

Have you ever wondered what the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) does in terms of its own IP enforcement?  An interested reader asked the Kats what they thought of this copyright notice, appended to a survey:
© Copyright World Intellectual Property Organization, 2010.  Certain rights reserved. WIPO authorizes the partial reproduction, translation and dissemination of this survey for non-commercial and non-profit scientific, educational or research purposes, provided that WIPO, the publication and the authors are properly identified and acknowledged. Permission to substantially reproduce, disseminate and/or translate this survey, or compile or create derivative works therefrom, in any form, whether for commercial/for profit or nonprofit purposes, must be requested in writing. For this purpose, WIPO may be contacted at, under “Contact us”.
While this Kat was intrigued by the terminology of "Certain rights reserved" (unlike "Uncertain rights", which most copyright seems to be these days?), Merpel was curious about WIPO's enforcement policy.  Has the great organization ever gone to court, or to arbitration, in order to protect its rights? Can it even do so? Merpel has a hunch that this United Nations agency, under the WIPO Convention, enjoys in WIPO member states only "... such legal capacity as may be necessary for the fulfilment of the Organization’s objectives and for the exercise of its functions" (Article 12). These are defined in Articles 3 and 4 in suitably lofty terms, but do they include the enforcement of its own IP rights?

IPSoc, the organisation for dynamic, socially minded, ambitious and beautiful young intellectual property practitioners, holds its Winter Social on Wednesday 19 January 2011.  The venue is Amber [is that its name or its colour?], CityPoint, 1 Ropemaker Street, London, EC2Y 9AW and it starts at 6.30pm. For further information or to reserve a place, please email Their next event, on 15 February, stars one of England and Wales's most dynamic, socially minded, ambitious and beautiful young intellectual property judges, Colin Birss QC, speaking on "The Reformed Patents County Court: Opportunities for Junior IP Practitioners". Venue: Simmons & Simmons (CityPoint, as above). Time: 6.00pm (registration), talk 6.30pm (prompt) to 7.30pm, talk followed by Q&A and what dynamic, socially minded, ambitious and beautiful young intellectual property enthusiasts do best ...  This is however a serious event, so this time you have to email to gain admission.  If you are a DSMA and BYIP person, but haven't yet joined, do so now, here.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, January 05, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Dear Jeremy:

    You snooze, you lose. That's the trouble with England being in the wrong time zone.

    At 8:10 PM ET tonight, there was big news from WSJ Law Blog which apparently got the IP blogging scoop re false advertising claims involving cat litter:

    "According to the false advertising lawsuit, the Clorox ads depict multiple cats rejecting the Arm & Hammer litter and cats prefer Fresh Step because it “is better at eliminating odors.” However, Church & Dwight claims its own research came to a different conclusion."

    I suggest that IPKat outdo WSJ by running a limerick contest based upon this fascinating littergation re litter preferences of cats.

    Lets' see how many IP angles the Kat's readers can sniff out of this felixitous factual situation.

    Best regards,


  2. Dear Howard, you sweet old thing! It's lovely to hear from a champion copyright blogger from across the pond -- and who may well be asleep when this response is posted.

    Let me explain: we are Kats who blog about intellectual property law, not intellectual property lawyers who blog about cats. The Clorox cat-spat is very entertaining, but it's a false advertising suit and therefore too remote from our IP interests. We have to be selective because we receive around 10 to 20 communications a week which consist of links to non-IP cat news, photos of readers' cats, miscellaneous cat-related artwork and witty, delicious but non-IP-related puns involving the words cat, feline, kitten etc.

    For the record, while our team normally spans only three time zones, one of our number is currently in Singapore and, subject to jetlag, is probably awake while we snooze ...

  3. Dear Jeremy:

    I would never, no matter how tempting, litter the IPKat’s inbox with non-IP related material, no matter how appealing to cat fanciers everywhere.

    We have numerous precedents in Canada of cases involving allegations of false and misleading comparative advertising that rely on sections 7(a) and 22 of our Trade-marks Act.

    Let’s see if there’s a Lanham Act claim in this US case clawing its way to the surface. Maybe a US reader with a Pacer account can provide us with the pleading.

    And here’s a link to the video... look in the lower right at the TV campaign. I sniff trade-marks (CDN spelling) issues galore. You can’t put this case neatly into any one legal litter box, so to speak.

    It would be interesting, at the very least, to compare whether this fact situation gives rise to IP issues in various countries. It’s worth a pause to reflect.

    Best wishes,


  4. As far as I can tell, WIPO does very little to protect or enforce its rights. I would have thought it sensible, for example, for WIPO to register its names, slogans and logos as trademarks, perhaps even through the Madrid system, but a simple search on Romarin suggests not.

    If WIPO was a commercial entity, I imagine that it would certainly want to take action against things such as this, rather than just issuing warnings to its customers.

  5. Perhaps 'handsome' rather than 'beautiful' would be more appropriate to describe Colin Birss...unless of course, not having had the pleasure of meeting him before, he comes bedazzled in an evening gown à la Dame Shirley Bassey...I look forward to the event with anticipation!


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