Friday fantasies

If you are young, gifted and good at writing intellectual property essays, it's almost but not quite too late to submit yours as an entry in the ATRIP Essay Competition 2011 for Young Researchers in Intellectual Property Law, the closing date for which is 31 August 2011 (that's next Wednesday). You can write on any IP topic, to a maximum length of 8,000 words inclusive of footnotes.  Young, in this context, is "no older than 33 years of age as of 31 December 2011". Just email it to the IPKat's friend Professor Jan Rosén, making sure that no-one reading it will know who you are -- and tell the good professor that the IPKat sent you. Good news it that
"The authors of the best three papers will be mentioned as such on the ATRIP website in an ad hoc section. In addition, the author of the best paper will be invited to give a presentation as a speaker at the 2012 ATRIP international annual conference to be held in Chicago".

If you are young, glamorous and choosy as to what you wear, you may not yet have one of these in your wardrobe, but the IPKat's friend and fellow blogger Lorraine Fleck has drawn the Kat's attention, via LinkedIn's Fashion+IP group, to this piece in the LA Times which suggests that the Hells' Angels are not best pleased with Hollywood fashion house Wildfox, or online sales facility Amazon, for making and selling these cute little T-shirts.

Of course, the first question any red-blooded European trade mark enthusiast will ask is whether the slogan constitutes trade mark use, or whether it is taken merely as a statement that one should take liberties with the T-shirt's wearer without weighing up the prospects of an unwelcome visit from a bevy of bikers.  The other interesting question, Merpel thinks, is what the generic or descriptive term for a Hell's Angel actually is.  Readers' uggestions are invited.

International Treats ...
If you're young, scholarly and like to dig around in important areas of intellectual property that hardly anyone else seems to have spotted yet, you may be a kindred spirit to Simon Klopschinski (Hoffmann Eitle, Munich), whose German-language PhD thesis "Der Schutz geistigen Eigentums durch völkerrechtliche Investitionsverträge" (The Protection of Intellectual Property under International Investment Treaties) has just been published by Kluwer's Carl Heymanns Verlag imprint. The book's home page is here; you can also read a short English-language explanation of what it's about on the IP Finance blog here.  All the Kats are sure that the book must be a good deal more exciting than its cover, here.  They do however recognise how difficult it is to illustrate the theme of "international treaties", which is why they've settled for the very similar, if slightly shorter, "international treats" (left) ...

If you are old, nostalgic and patent-oriented, this piece of prose by Brookes Batchellor's Nick Dougan, celebrating the 50 years in IP practice which his colleague Roy Prentice has so far notched up, will give pleasure.  Apart from an unusual sortie into the world of IP enforcement via some "heavies" (already posted here on PatLit), there's a touching recollection of what life used to be life before the era of the internet:
"Early days – patent searching 
As a technical assistant, as trainee patent agents were called in those days, at first most of my time was spent searching. The Patent Office library was at 25 Southampton Buildings and D. Young & Co.’s offices at Staple Inn were next door. The library opened at 10.00 am. When I came in each morning, I would sort out the searches that needed to be done and then go over to the library at opening time. Now remember this was in the days before computers. Everything had to be searched manually and quite often the searches would take all morning [It seems to take some good folk considerably longer nowadays even with computers, notes Merpel, who guesses that there just wasn't so much prior art in the old days]. I would go back to the office at lunchtime and then had to report the searches in the afternoon. I remained responsible for most searches until another new boy started a couple of years later, when I was put in charge of the “search department”, as well as assuming responsibility for filing and prosecuting all of the registered design applications for the firm. Nowadays, with computers, what used to take over an hour can be done on the Internet in a few minutes and often in a few seconds [Ah, but thing that used to take a few seconds now take much longer -- like checking one's emails ...]".

If you're any age, love scientific data and are searching for something in your life, your interest may have been piqued by yesterday's post about Boliven's special one-month free trial offer for IPKat readers. Your excited expectations may then have tumbled when you spotted that, for a reason that the Kat has so far failed to blame anyone else, a key piece of information was missing: the url where free triallists are supposed to log on.  It has now been belatedly added but, in case you are not one of those readers who regularly revisits old blog posts, the Kat thought he'd better mention it here too:
"All you have to do is register for your free trial, using the special offer code -KATFREETRIAL - and then you can search for one whole month to your heart's content. The place to register is".

If you are young, beefy and likely to end up as a burger on someone's plate, you may belong to a Texas herd that is going to be branded -- in the original meaning of the word.  According to this fascinating news item, Texan cattle brands and marks -- like trade marks in many countries -- lapse after ten years if they are not renewed.  A subtle difference is that all registered marks lapse on exactly the same day -- 30 August. Happily, there is a six-month renewal period if you forget to renew, following which your brand will be up for grabs and someone else might be able to register it in your place.  The IPKat thanks his Mancunium IP correspondent Sang Nkhwazi for discovering this item.

Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, August 26, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. I suspect that Merpel may be a wee bit nervous that cattle branding is getting a bit too close to cat branding.

    Please assure Merpel and that cattle and cats are different species altogether, despite the nomenclature - or should that be "nomencature" - which would be confusing if they were trademarks due to the similarity in appearance and sound.

    Indeed, some might think - hopefully wrongly - that "cattle" is the Yiddish diminutive for "cat".

  2. Thanks for mentioning Roy Prentice's excellent reflections on 50 years in patents, but you give me too much of the credit. I only contributed a little light editing and put it on the website. The work was all Roy's

    Nick Douga

  3. I am old, nostalgic and patent-oriented. The old Patent Office Library opened at 10 am but did not close until 9 pm. After work most days I acted as an abstractor for Photographic Abstracts then published by the Royal Photographic Society. It was a quiet pleasant time either in Southampton Buildings or in the basement of Chancery Lane House. At closing time you could cross High Holborn to Henekeys where there was always a decanter of Burgundy and a decanter of Claret on the bar; these were the 'house' items. An array of their many other wines were open and ready if you were feeling rich. Happy days!

  4. Actually, it was in the early 1960s that the UK Patent Office offered a special service to searchers. The UK classes assigned would cover all features in a given invention (at least that was true for electronics, radio, etc. inventions). This meant that you could define your field of search as a logical sum of a number of class codes. The Patent Office would let a computer do the comparison of lists of inverted files and print a long strip of patent numbers that fitted that combination. You would then go to the Abridgment books to look them up and to check the relevance. In those days, the Abridgments were written by the Patent Office examiners and were a fabulous source of technical information in their own right. That all ended with Britain's accession to the EPC.

    Abstracts today are next to worthless, and if they come from the Far East you spend more time worrying about what they might conceivably mean than you can permit yourself to charge for. At times [well, frequently] the EPO relies on these abstracts and it is mostly not considered gross negligence even if you can prove by buying a proper translation of the original that what is stated in the foreign patent text is the opposite of the EPO view of the matter.

    Kind regards,

    George Brock-Nannestad

  5. The official generic term for a member of an "outlaw motorcycle club/gang" (e.g. the Hell's Agels (RTM)) is "affiliated psychopathic motorcycle hoodlum" (as distinct from a freelance psychopathic motorcycle hoodlum).


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