Wednesday whimsies

Around the blogs. Congratulations are due to the most recondite blog on the IP block, The SPC Blog, which has just celebrated the signing-up of its one thousandth email subscriber. There is no truth in the story that this weblog was started as an experiment to see if it was true that there was no subject so obscure, so narrow and technical that you couldn't get people to read a blog on it. All the members of the team are of course overcome with that state of blissful humility that comes from knowing that they couldn't have achieved what they did without the assistance of 996 other people. Well done!

Another day, another blog. The IPKat is delighted to announce the entry of two new blogs into the intellectual property corner of the blogosphere. The first is the European Patent Office's blog here. Merpel sincerely hopes that whoever writes for it is allowed to be more enjoyable than the product of the authors of some of the Board of Appeal decisions she reads, which seem to have had any possible interest surgically removed before publication. Meanwhile, for those who love password-protected blogs, Kluwer has just set up the Kluwer Copyright Blog, here. This Kat's far too busy to be messing around with passworded weblogs, but feels sure that his friends and readers will tell him how good it is.

If you are a Twitterer, you probably know that the IPKat and various members of his team occupy a little bit of space there.  You may not know, though, that many IP organisations live there too.  IPKat team member Jeremy is currently baby-sitting the Twitter account along with former MARQUES chair Tove Graulund. If you want to keep half an eye out for European trade mark developments, love Tiny Urls and prefer messages that are incapable of exceeding 140 characters, this may be for you. You can find the account @MARQUES-IP.

Meanwhile, the 19th PCC Page has now appeared on the PatLit weblog, reviewing the current state og various evidential and procedural issues in the impending Patents County Court litigation between Cautious Co and IPOff Ltd over the alleged infringement of IP rights in Cautious's robotic octopus.  You can read it here.  Next week, after the twentieth PCC Page is published, a compendium of all 20 will be posted for ease of readers' access.

If the European Inventor of the Year Award 2011 excites you, here's your link. The European Patent Office has published its list of nominees, all of whom are very impressive even none of them appear to be cats.  The IPKat wishes them all the best of luck.  Merpel says, is one of the prizes an non-opposable European patent? Now, that would be worth working for!

The IPKat's friends Peter Watchorn and Andrea Veronese have just published a second edition of their book on the European Patent Convention (EPC), Procedural Law under the EPC-2000 [No, Merpel, says the IPKat, it's not a sequel to Procedural Law under the EPC, versions 1 to 1999].  Say Peter and Andrea, "We have updated the book to the legal changes which have entered into force over the last three years since the publication of the first edition in 2008. In particular, the much debated "Raising the Bar" rule changes have been explained (search limitations, time limits for filing divisional applications, provision of search results on claimed priorities, indication of amendments and their basis and mandatory response to the European search opinion or the Written Opinion prepared by the EPO in the Patent Cooperation Treaty). We also dealt with the reform of the fee system (the unitary designation fee, shortened prepayment of the renewal fees, page fees due on filing etc) which came into force in 2009. This edition is suitable for study in preparation for and use in the European Qualifying Examination (EQE) of 2012 and also for use by Professional representatives licenced to practice before the EPO". The book's website is hereand if you follow the link on the "Purchase" page, you'll find the sales page of their German publisher, with instructions for purchase in English and in German.

"Exhausted?  Even reading the title wore me out!"
Parallel trade and exhaustion of rights is a subject which, the IPKat feels, should never have been allowed to dominate European litigation for more than two decades.  This is because all the possible permutations of fact could have been set out as a simple table, separately addressed by the legislature and then enshrined in legislative acts that would have provided clarity and stability for a generation of businesses that have had to sue to find out what the law is.  Enrico Bonardio (IP Law Lecturer, City Law School, London) probably feels rather more happy about the subject, since his article on the topic, "Parallel Imports in a Global Market: Should a Generalised International Exhaustion be the Next Step?", has just been published in the European Intellectual Property Review. Since it's also on SSRN you can read it there too.  If you're too fatigued to press the link, the plot spoiler is this: Enrico argues that only international exhaustion is consistent with the spirit, provisions and targets of the World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trading system and should therefore be imposed on all WTO countries [yes, says Merpel, but isn't that the reason why exhaustion was left out of the TRIPS Agreement?]. 

Those readers who have good memories for names will recall that yesterday the IPKat was reporting on his Turkish ban, thanks to some inside information from Turkish IP scholar Burcu Kilic. The same good soul needs a little help, if you can spare it. Burcu is currently working on that Cinderella of IP rights, utility model (UM) protection. Noting their origin as a device for fostering and protecting innovations by SMEs at an affordable price, she is particularly interested in whether there remains any justification for UM systems within Europe today, given the range of other rights and options open to innovative businesses and those who invest in them. If you have any useful personal experiences or interesting thoughts about UMs, can you please email Burcu here, and tell her that the Kat said you should contact her.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, March 09, 2011 Rating: 5

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