Wednesday whimsies -- better late than never

The IPKat did everything in his
power to make Wednesday last
longer -- but to no avail
Yes, it's Thursday, and the Wednesday Whimsies post is indeed woefully late -- but no, it's not because the author of this post was blacking out this regular feature for political or publicity purposes à la Wikipedia (on which, if you are new to this weblog, see earlier posts here and here, plus readers' comments).   The delay is the regrettable result of the days being too short and incident-packed for this keenly-expected piece to be posted on time.  The IPKat says "sorry" but adds, if it happens again there will be no apology: the piece will simply be re-branded "Thursday Thunderbolt" (or whatever) and that will be an end to the matter.   Merpel says, it's probably a good idea to refresh the blog by renaming "Monday Miscellany", "Wednesday Whimsies" and "Friday Fantasies". Do readers have any brilliant suggestions for something to replace them with?

A little Kat news.  Matt Fisher (Matt the Kat) is taking a break from blogging for a while. The other Kats all look forward to his speedy return.

So long, Kodak? The IPKat is saddened by this report that the owners of one of the greatest trade marks in the history of branding, KODAK, have filed for protective bankruptcy in the United States.  Young readers may not even recall a time when smartphones and tablets didn't exist and when, if you wanted to take a photo, you had to have a camera. Kodak's heyday was the pre-digital age when cameras had to be loaded with film -- leading brands being KODACHROME and KODACOLOUR -- which then had to be developed. This was such a lucrative business that it was often said that the best business model for the company would be to give its cameras away, foregoing one-off sales in favour of repeat income from the purchase and development of holiday snaps, party pics and attempts at fine art.  Which adult of mature years has yet forgotten the excitement, as a child, of receiving his or her first INSTAMATIC camera? [Crummy trade mark, says Merpel: just a combination of "instant" and "automatic"].  This blog will be following the fate of the Kodak brand with great interest.

From the pages of the PCT Newsletter the IPKat has learned that the Republic of Moldova has dencounced the Eurasian Patent Convention (A kat-pat to Edward Humphrey-Evans for letting us know). This denunciation takes effect from 26 April 2012 -- World Intellectual Property Day and, entirely coincidentally, the birthday of Professor Sir Robin Jacob. According to the announcement:
"This denunciation will not affect granted Eurasian patents or PCT applications filed before 26 April 2012 containing the designation of the Republic of Moldova for a Eurasian patent; these patents and applications will continue to have full effect. However, as a result of the denunciation, any international application filed on or after 26 April 2012 will contain the designation of the Republic of Moldova only for a national patent, and will not include the designation of that State for a Eurasian patent. 
The country is known for its exotic
recipes. Indeed, the popular local
dish of curried eagle features
on its national flag 
Furthermore, as from 26 April 2012, the Eurasian Patent Office will no longer be a competent receiving Office for international applications filed by nationals and residents of the Republic of Moldova. The remaining competent receiving Offices will be the State Agency on Intellectual Property (Republic of Moldova) or the International Bureau of WIPO, at the choice of the applicant".
Various Kats are speculating as to the significance of this news.  Can it be that Moldova is bracing itself to enter the sphere of the European Patent Organization, or is this part of a cunning plot to regain the territory of Romania with which it has an, er, complex relationship? It would be good to know.

Counsel's submissions in an
application to amend a patent:
a judge's perspective ...
Language issues are never far from the surface when patents are on the agenda in Europe.  It is thus with great and unfeigned excitement that this linguistically-challenged Kat reports that the Swiss Federal Patent Court has just opened for business as the continent's first national quadrilingual patent court.  The languages in question are three of Switzerland's national languages: French, German and Italian -- plus English.  Two languages are missing. The first is Romansh, which is an official Swiss language but not an official federal tongue, so far as this Kat can ascertain.  The second, as Merpel is swift to point out, is Patentese -- which is spoken in all European patent courts but, it appears, understood in very few of them.

"No, no!", growled the IPKat, "I asked for a sign
that read 'Praise the LAW!' "
Unexpected praise. From Chris Torrero (who has earned himself a kat-pat for his kindness) the IPKat learns that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has released a Report on the User Rights Defense. This reports concludes that the new America Invents Act (AIA)
“strikes the right balance by limiting the prior user rights defense to those parties that can prove commercial use at least one year prior to the filing date of the patent application by clear and convincing evidence.” 
The Report compares prior use provisions in a range of industrialized and emerging economies, including a sample of European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), as well as Japan, Canada, Australia, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, and China. It concludes that the prior user rights defence provisions set forth in the AIA are generally consistent with those of major trading partners". Merpel wonders why "at least one year prior to the filing date of the patent application" should be a better period of time than any other arbitrary period. Can any reader illuminate this point for her?

Around the weblogs. Canadian Copyright enthusiast Barry Sookman has compiled one of those "copyright year in review" posts that make you realise how quickly major case law developments cease to be red-hot news as they're replaced by the next exciting decision. On Class 99, guest blogger Rachel Cook writes on design protection for celebrity dresses, with special reference to Vampire nuptials, while blogmeister David Musker has created a tantalisingly-titled post, "Hair of gold, cloth of silk, heart of darkness".  1709 Blogger Eleonora reports on the tensions between the tenacious media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his current foes - Barack Obama and Google.
Wednesday whimsies -- better late than never Wednesday whimsies -- better late than never Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, January 19, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. How about “Today’s Titillations”!

  2. Re: Kodak. The great irony is that the company were the first to develop the digital camera technology which was to be their nemesis.

  3. How about Monday Morsels
    Wednesday Workday Wonders Friday fripperies or Fish and Chips.

  4. Why did the drafters of the AIA choose a time period of more than one year prior to the effective filing date as a limitation on the prior user right under the AIA? I surmise that the drafters intended to exclude the possibility of reliance on the prior use defense by someone who started prior use activities after learning about the invention via an inventor disclosure within the one year grace period under §102.

  5. Loved this post and also the blog. Branding Agencies in India are also catching up with the West. Lets hope a war and more creativity.


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