Europe: divided we stand

The Venn diagram displayed above was pointed out to the IPKat by his friend Pam Chestek, who spotted it on BoingBoing here.  Although it demonstrates dramatically the current state of cooperation and alliance between the many countries in Europe, it is by no means the end of the story.  

It will be instantly noticed by patent enthusiasts that the European Patent Organisation is not featured.  Assuming that the not-quite-Community patent rolls smoothly into reality, the "EU minus Italy and Spain" zone will have to be incorporated too.  Trade mark buffs will quickly note the absence of the Benelux, a three-nation zone for some intellectual property rights registration systems

Rather less obviously connected with intellectual property rights systems but of great interest to those whose business models depend upon securing national or regional rights and then exploiting or licensing them more widely are the Eurozones for the purposes of the Eurovision Song Contest and the UEFA Champions League.

The IPKat says this picture shouldn't be taken as a portent of gloom.  Go back to 1967, the year when the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the picture is far worse.  Europe was divided by an Iron Curtain which is distant history so far as most young IP lawyers are concerned; the European Community mustered just six countries. There was no Schengen, no Eurozone, no Customs Union. It takes time to mend the cracks, but Europe is slowly getting there.
Europe: divided we stand Europe: divided we stand Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. And the court system(s) for that not-quite-Community patent would be...?

    That's right - individual circles arouns each country - happy trials.

  2. Coincidentally, Alan S. Milward's The European Rescue of the Nation-State arrived here in the post today. It doesn't mention patents either, but from the few pages I already devoured, I would readily recommended it to understand where the concept of "Europe" comes from. I doubt that enforcing unified IP rights from Tenerife to Tampere is a worthy goal susceptible of rallying the peoples of Europe.

    BTW, Moldova appears to be represented twice in the diagram, at the top near Georgia and at the right under the "EU Customs Union".

  3. The two virtually identical flags (at least at that scale) I mentioned in my earlier comment are actually Moldova's and ANDORRA's.

    The chart was taken over from Wikipedia.

  4. and not to forget the most important Eurozone of them all - the Eurovision zone


  5. I notice that the IP Kat has chosen to so far not mention the Council decision on enhanced cooperation...

  6. The main thing I learn from this Venn diagram is how poor my knowledge of flags is. Any chance of an annotated version?

  7. @Dave: this member of the blogging team has had a half-written piece sitting in draft form for some days and hopes to complete it when (i) time permits or (ii) one of the other members of the team rises to the occasion and does it instead ...

  8. @9:59:

    Try dragging your mouse over this link out of the sight of your cat.

    I note that this chart does not consider NATO membership. It used to matter a lot.

  9. Anonymous @9:59:

    If you take the "Eurozone" set, it includes, from left to right and top to bottom:
    Cyprus and Ireland (only ones outside the "Schengen Area" set), Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

    Outside the "Eurozone" set, but still within the European Union, top to bottom:

    Bulgaria, Romania and UK (outside the Schengen Area) and Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden.

    In the European Economic Area, but not in the EU, top to bottom:

    Liechtenstein (which is not in the Schengen Area) and Norway and Iceland (which are).

    In the European Free Trade Association, but not in the EEA:

    Switzerland (which is however in the Schengen Area).

    In the EU Customs Union, but not in the EU:

    Andorra, Turkey, San Marino and Monaco (the latter being also in the Schengen Area).

    In the Council of Europe, but outside all the other clubs, left to right:

    Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro (I think), Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine.

    Outside even the Council of Europe, but minting its own euros (like San Marino and Monaco): the Holy See.

  10. I shall try to learn them and test myself tomorrow :-)

  11. Technical correction: This is an Euler diagram, not a Venn diagram. :-)


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