Wednesday Whiskers

Miracles do happen, it seems. Despite several hurdles and a legislative calendar that was drowning in debt-related issues, the long-awaited US patent reform legislation passed the Senate vote on Monday. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) was passed unamended by the US Senate with a 89-9 vote (see previous AmeriKat and IPKat posts here). Once signed into law by President Obama, the bill will introduce several changes to the US patent system including harmonizing its first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system and ending fee diversion. AIA has been criticized by many as being overly burdensome to small independent inventors, will increase the number of provisional applications being made to the USPTO and would allow the Appropriations Committee to unduly control the fees generated by the USPTO. USPTO Director David Kappos heralded the passage of the bill, claiming that it will " down the backlog of patent applications, and expedite the issuance of high quality patents - all without adding a dime to the deficit." Director Kappos proceeded to then walk on water.... Joking aside, the AmeriKat is excited about this new act and will be back on Sunday to report on the fall-out and commentary surrounding its passage.

The Rolls Building is nearing its opening day. For those IP litigators, like this Kat, the new £300 million Rolls Building will soon become a home-away-from-home as the Patents Court moves from the resplendent Royal Courts of Justice to its new home. You needn't spend long in the RCJ chambers and filing offices to hear comments about the new building - a mixture of views mostly punctuated by comments of how small the court rooms are, how some are being dragged across to Fetter Lane kicking and screaming and how no one will know where anything is [cue wandering judges and barristers looking for their lost court rooms, Merpel remarks cattily]. Then there is the elevator problem - only 3 public lifts (i.e. fitting only one clerk with the first set of disclosure bundles for your standard Chancery case - promises of e-filing be damned). The AmeriKat is more worried that, as with many new buildings, the air conditioning system will be out of control and set on a level that only pacing barristers can endure. There are rumors floating around about who will be the first IP case to grace the Rolls Building, but no concrete word until the doors first open this fall. The IPKat says that whoever gets there first should give the rest of us tips about managing the new building - flaws, free wi-fi, and all!

8+3 =11 big problems for HathiTurst, a partnership of research libraries and universities, including the University of Michigan . On Monday, the 11 strong contingent of authors' groups and individual authors including the Authors Guild filed a copyright infringement suit in the Southern District of New York against the libraries and universities claiming that their initiative to digitize millions of books without authorization constituted copyright infringement and posting the books online. The claim also objects to the partnership self-designating works as "orphan works" and thus self-permitting the digitization and use of those works. So far 9.5 million books and journals have already been digitized with around 30% of those works being in the public domain. The twist in the story is that the executive director of the partnership, John Wilkin, stated that the digitized works were provided by Google. IPKat readers will remember that last March, Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement in the Google Books litigation (more here) in a similar dispute. A hearing is schedule for tomorrow in the Google Books case.

On Tuesday, IPR2, better known as the EU-China Project for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, between the European Commission, EPO, OHIM and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the EU formally came to a close. The closing ceremony of IPR2 comes at the end of a four-year 16 million Euro joint project. Under IPR2 European and Chinese officials, judges, legislators, experts and academics implemented technical assistance and training activities across China. The parties have agreed to continue their cooperation [what else would you expect?, says Merpel] Would you like to see the what 4 years and 16 million Euros can get you? Well you can't, at least not yet... But while the database is being built, there is a collection of a hodge-podge of documents from the project here.

Many of the IPKat's beloved readers will be in or journeying to Baveno, Italy for this year's annual MARQUES conference (Kat Jeremy is currently stalking the Italian venue.) Today's MARQUES conference agenda, for those Kats and readers who are not so lucky to travel to Italy this week, is premised on "Reality Checks" - reality check on costs, reality check on trends and reality checks on function. The last check is a topic being discussed after lunch entitled "Reality Function" and is promoted as an "update on legal analysis on the trade mark function." For those attendees whose brain activity does not decrescendo following a hearty pasta and foccacia lunch, please let the Kat know what panel suggest is "the trade mark function" in European trade mark law.
Wednesday Whiskers Wednesday Whiskers Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 Rating: 5

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