More Monday Miscellany

Sam Cameron explains the basics
of brand extension to the Prime Minister
Further to Mary Ellen Field's post today ("The system's fine, but where's the money?", here), and in the context of the UK government's familiarity with and understanding of intellectual property issues, Mary Ellen adds in a comment beneath her piece "... We should not forget that the PM sleeps with a branding expert. Sam Cameron was creative director at that classic British Brand long before he was an MP. She has totally revitalised a tired brand and taken it international".  All credit to Sam Cameron, but Merpel has only this to add: while it's commendable that the PM sleeps with a branding expect, she's more concerned about who he spends his waking hours with: however pleasurable branding expertise may be, Merpel doubts that it is sexually transmitted.

This coming Wednesday, 2 March, at the coffee-friendly hour of 11am, the IPKat's excellent and scholarly friend Tanya Aplin (Kings College London) is speaking at Brunel University.  Her oration will be on the topic of  “the continuing dilemma of database protection”. Attendance at this event is free and more information concerning it can be found here.

WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) has now made available some pages to stir the spirits of those who intend to celebrate World IP Day on 26 April 2011 -- and indeed all week, if need be.  The IP Outreach portal is here; this year's theme ("Designing the future") is featured here and a roll-call of posters and fun-and-games from previous years is here.

From Stephan Weber (Legal Counsel, EMEA - IHS Global Limited) comes this plaintive missive: "I have today received another (rather official-looking) scam letter alerting me that one of our trade marks is about to expire and offering assistance. This letter is from the European Trademark Organisation S.A.. I would be happy to forward you a copy of the letter if that is helpful. Do you know of any database where such scams are recorded or would you maybe be interested in setting up such a database?" The MARQUES Class 46 weblog is now doing just this, asking people for details of databases at national level that complement WIPO's own database here.  If you have details of such databases, please let Class 46 know (several useful links have already been received and will be published shortly). All information collated will be shared!

The IPKat himself received a grand little letter from the Domain Renewal Group this morning, kindly reminding him that his domain names are coming up for renewal and kindly offering to do the job for him, for a consideration.  A brief visit to his friendly search engine reveals that a lot of people have mistakenly assumed that Domain Renewal Group had some official sanction or role, and were somewhat unpleased to find themselves parting with money which, all things considered, they'd rather spend on other things.

In the lovely city of Turin (or Torino, if you love the beautiful name by which Italians call it) there's a fascinating conference coming up on 11 March under the title "Copyright or the right to copy?" (details are available in full on Art & Artifice, here).  One of the speakers is HHH (Hogarth head honcho) Alastair Wilson QC, who will be tackling "Reproduction of Works of Art in the UK".  Says Alastair:
"The essentials of copyright protection have not changed hugely over the past two hundred years – but the nature of art has. 
Copyright law still has the fundamental requirements that for a work to be a copyright work it must be “original”, and to be infringed a “substantial part” of it must have been copied. 
Real problems now arise in the case of conceptual art and artworks closely based on pre-existing works: questions arise as to whether some such things are copyright works at all, and even if they are, what constitutes an infringement". 
If you want to know more, you'd better check your flight times -- unless of course you live in Torino.

Finally, from the Kat's friend, trade mark and branding expert Bob Boad, comes a couple of links (here and here) to a recent news item concerning Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce group which, he observes "is popular with Western traders as a source of cheap Chinese manufactures but it is also notorious as a conduit for counterfeits and other scams".  What's interesting here is that there are actually people at the top who are being identified and expected to bear responsibility -- though not, it seems, liability, for the fraudulent activities of the company they run.  A small step in the right direction is not much to cheer at, except when you consider that it's a lot better than a large step in the wrong direction.
More Monday Miscellany More Monday Miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, February 28, 2011 Rating: 5

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