Wednesday whimsies

Photo from here
Putting life into IP book reviews. With a little bit of luck and a good deal of effort, there may be a real shake-up for the fusty, dusty world of book reviews -- the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP) has just instituted a new, more transparent and, it hopes, more efficient scheme for getting IP books reviewed and then getting the reviews published within a reasonable time. At present, most books sent for review never end up getting reviewed or -- where they are reviewed -- by the time the review emerges it's of mainly historical interest. If you want to engage in a more meaningful review process, or are merely curious, click the jiplp weblog here.

An endangered species?
One big brand that will be a bit anxious at the moment is Lacoste, the fashion and leisurewear house which describes its ethos as "unconventional chic". No reader of this weblog with any human feeling can fail to be appalled by the dreadful massacre carried out last weekend by Anders Behring Breivik, and the Kats offer their sympathies to those who mourn the dead and to the whole Norwegian nation. Several sharp-eyed readers, led by Matt Dick (Bristows), have pointed out that the Norwegian killer has been portrayed in several mass circulation publications wearing a garment bearing the Lacoste crocodile (not alligator) logo. This is the sort of negative publicity that all brand owners dread and can have adverse repercussions right down the line, if public aversion leads to falling sales which in turn lead to traders losing their income and garment makers losing their jobs.

Is your brand green? The Interbrand list of top green brands was published yesterday, here. The site contains the usual stuff: methodology, interviews, comment etc -- and the full Top 50 list can be read here. For the record (and for those too lazy to read the whole list themselves), this year's Top Ten looks like this:
No need to be
green if you want
to be Green
1 Toyota (Japan)
2 3M (United States)
3 Siemens (Germany)
4 Johnson & Johnson (United States)
5 HP (United States)
6 VW (Germany)
7 Honda (Japan)
8 Dell (United States)
9 Cisco (United States)
10 Panasonic (Japan)
Only two British brands made the top 50, both for banking (Barclays and HSBC, down near the bottom of the list) and none of the top brands had the word "green" in them. The IPKat says, well done Toyota: those Prius jokes are a small price to pay. Merpel says, there are much better Prius jokes around, but maybe Toyota is policing the internet and getting them exterminated because the funniest ones can't be found online. Readers: can you help?

Will Mike Medavoy be looking for
a star to play a 'miner' role ...?
A plot -- or a personal narrative? From the IPKat's ever-thoughtful friend Edward Smith (IPO) comes an interesting reflection: "I read that the 33 rescued Chilean Miners had, collectively, sold rights to a movie which had been bought by Mike Medavoy (Black Swan, Shutter Island). While most of us can grasp the notion of film rights to a book being sold (Harry Potter etc), rights to a 'story' is a vague notion which is alien to IP principles. The purchase is pretty meaningless since, presumably, movie 'rights' could also be sold by, say, the people who rescued the Chilean miners ..."  This Kat is not so sure he agrees with Edward about this.  It all depends what you mean by "story". If it is simply a plot or an outline, much will depend on the level of detail and complexity: "boy meets girl, falls in love, they fight, they make up again and live happily ever after" is not going to attract much in the way of legal protection. If however what is being sold is the right to relate a personal narrative or, in this case, a set of personal narratives which, like marrow, enrich the bare bones of the story and give it flavour, this is something that would lie beyond the ability of the rescuers, who would not have experienced it, to assign.

Sanitary toilets and expired patents.  The IPKat has received a thoughtful email from his old friend Richard Brown (De Sola Pate & Brown Abogados-Consultores, Caracas), who writes:
"The New Yorker published an extremely interesting article, "Hearth Surgery", in December 2009 by Burkhard Bilger. It details the developing world’s need for efficient non polluting stoves to stop smoke pollution and deforestation. Not a word was said about public domain patents. It could be that the vast reservoir of public domain patents could make valuable contributions to this effort. ...
I note Bill Gates´ Foundation has just started a search for a sanitary toilet for the developing world. Mr Gates would seem an ideal candidate to have his foundation approach the world's PTOs to help them computerize their expired patents to see if they could be used to help the developing world obtain cheep effective water treatment, stoves, lights, pumps, toilets, and other needed technologies".
This seems like a great idea to this Kat.  Does anyone have Bill Gates' email address (he doesn't seem to be a regular reader yet?)  And how many good loo patents can we send him?

Around the blogs.  A couple of landmarks are noted today: the 1709 Blog, which focuses specifically on copyright and has recently hosted a very lively debate over the fate of creative artistes following the posting of Leigh Harrison's Open Letter here, has now signed up its 900th email subscriber. Some way behind but growing handsomely, the jiplp weblog has now welcomed email subscriber number 500.
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Surely the point of "buying" the story is that it is the exclusive rights to the story from the miner's point of view - i.e. they wont do a movie with anyone else.

    Could a third party mosaic the many reports and interviews and come up with a script "based on a true story" and then use that in a way that does not suggest the film is endorsed or otherwise supported by the miners.... hmm would have thought so.

  2. Thank you Jeremy and anonymous for helping me out on this one re the miners. From both your answers Mr Medavoy may not have bought an awful lot here: the right to film a collection of personal narratives by the trapped miners -most of which are already out there in the public domain or could be mosaiced differently in any case.

    So,are we left with a statement at the end of the film: "This film is officially made with the cooperation of the Chilean miners. Beware imitations" ? Hmmm, sorry Mike, I'm off to see 'Horrid Henry' instead. No offence, but however much the 'human spirit triumphs' in your movie, its still hairy, sweaty miners, right? PS. As ever, my views are personal not those of the IPO !


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