Monday miscellany

WIPO staff agree that last week's
conflagration is a lot more
interesting than Geneva's
boring old jet'deau
Burn Convention.  Good news for WIPO watchers (and users) is that the World Intellectual Property Organization is back in action again today. The temporary closure which was necessitated by last week's electrical fire has had repercussions for the daily life and business of intellectual property proprietors and their lawful representatives:
For the purposes of WIPO's registration services, (PCT, Madrid System, Hague System, Lisbon System, Arbitration and Mediation Center), WIPO was closed for business on October 27 and 28, 2011. 
The meeting of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT), which was to end on October 28, 2011, was suspended at mid-day on October 27, 2011. Further information will be provided by the Secretary to the Committee.

Around the weblogs.  The jiplp weblog carries in full the Editorial for its November 2011 issue on whether IP really does create employment.  Kinglsey Egbuonu's 20th visit to an African jurisdiction, in search of some sort of online presence for its IP offices, takes him to Gabon.  PatLit has now concluded its mini-series of posts on the America Invents Act, kindly crafted for it by Faegre & Benson, with this piece on patent marking requirements. Finally, the 1709 Blog advertises a copyright debate on whether the recent controversial Meltwater ruling in England and Wales means the end of browsing: full details are available here.

What! Scrap the UK's
registered design regime?
Why didn't I think of that
before ...?
ExciExcitement about designs. The blogosphere was buzzing last week with thoughts, opinions and suggestions about design law and the protection of designers -- on both sides of the Atlantic. Writing on the jiplp weblog, veteran IP expert Mario Franzosi addresses the uncomfortable position of design within the trilogy of art, design and style. Via Creative Barcode's Maxine Horn comes news of the Obama for America campaign's apparent indifference to the intellectual property interests of designers, posted on Class 99 here. Also on Class 99 is a plea for Dids Macdonald (ACID) that something constructive ought to be done about the UK's Registered Designs Act 1949 -- like scrapping it and letting copyright take its course. Class 99's side bar also hosts a poll on the Registered Designs Act 1949's fitness for purpose, of otherwise, in which you are encouraged to participate here.  The IPKat notes with sadness that the design community's articulation of its many legitimate grievances continues to grow but that its position continues to remain thoroughly unsatisfactory.

Are Slovak customs uniforms really going into the bin?  The IPKat's new friend Zuzana Hecko (Allen & Overy, Bratislava) informs him of a significant development in her corner of United Europe.  She explains that, earlier this month the Slovak President signed the draft act on the Unification of the Slovak Customs Authority and the Slovak Tax Directorate, which will come into force on 1 January 2012. Under the new law, customs authorities will be merged with the tax directorate, to form a new 'Financial Administration'. The uniforms of customs officers will thus become part of the country's recyclable waste and will be replaced by formal suits (the deterrent effect of which is somewhat questionable).  Zuzana comments:
Slovakia: a small country with a big, big border ...
"These developments are rather worrying because they carry the risk of customs officers becoming more focused on the 'financial' aspects of counterfeiting, such as tax evasion, rather than on the protection of IP rights as such. Sectors other than alcoholic spirits or tobacco should pay close attention to these developments. The changes are also likely to impede the anticipated creation of a specialised IP Unit within the customs authorities and an IP Monitoring Centre -- which are currently in the process of formation  -- but a question mark now hangs over their future. This is even more worrying, given (i) the poor seizure statistics in Slovakia, which are in fact the lowest in the EU (only 11 detentions were reported to the European Commission last year) and (ii) an external border with Ukraine. 
However, right-holders should take heart and remember that the Slovak (and Czech) customs, apart from having the power to act on the borders, also have the power to act in the internal market where the numbers of seizures are not as hopeless as on the border. Right-holders will have to submit specific customs applications for action in the internal market (different from the EU-wide customs applications for action based on regulation 1383/2003) to the customs authorities".
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, October 31, 2011 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. For the purposes of WIPO's registration services, (PCT [...]), WIPO was closed for business on October 27 and 28, 2011.

    I'm not sure what this is exactly supposed to mean in legal terms. Is this a declaration relating to Rule 80.5 PCT?

    I suspect that this situation may entail a loss of rights for some applications.

    Applicants generally make the fullest use of the Paris Union year, and wait until (almost) the last day for filing foreign or PCT applications. (Is this compatible with the "all due care" criterion?)

    From a sample of about 400 PCT applications filed 19.11.2008 (arbitrary choice of date) claiming priority, about 25% of these were filed exactly on the first anniversary year of the oldest priority, 19% on the penultimate day, and 10% on the second day before.

    Roughly two thirds of all WO application claim some priority. In 2008 the International Bureau accepted something like fifteen new applications every working day, presumably mostly through electronic means.

    There could therefore be a good dozen applications which couldn't be filed in due time with the IB, unless the applicant was able to revert to another RO at the last minute.

    Under the EPC, if you miss the priority boat, that's essentially it.

    Rule 82 ff PCT is essentially concerned with postal problems at the originating (applicant's) end, and applies to time limits related to the treaty. I can't see how it could provide authority for extending the Paris year.

    Could Rule 49ter PCT offer a solution? I don't know whether a general proclamation would be sufficient and binding on the elected offices would be sufficient, or if the applications concerned should be handled individually. From Rule 26bis3 it would be the applicant who should initiate action, not RO/IB.

    Which is the correct way to skin this cat?

    Only 4 months left before the EQE. ;-)


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