As easy as A, B, C

BAILII is one of the IPKat's favourite charities (you don't believe him? You can donate here). Otherwise known as the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, BAILII provides free and pretty well instant online access to all the main UK and Irish legal decisions, including those of England and Wales's Patents Court and Patents County Court.

Great news for intellectual property enthusiasts is that BAILII's excellent service will shortly be extended to cover the UK Intellectual Property Office decisions. While these might be dismissed as "only Office decisions", with no precedental clout, they are for the most part well reasoned and well presented. More importantly, bearing in mind the fact that most oppositions, revocations, cancellations and disputes over eligibility for protection never reach the courts so, if you want to know how the system really works and what is likely to happen to your patent, copyright or registered design, there is no better predictor than the hearing officers' decisions.

All cases that are hosted on BAILII's databases are given a "neutral citation" by which they can be identified irrespective of the series of law reports in which they might subsequently be reported. Thus Patents County Court cases have a designation such as
Weight Watchers (UK) Ltd & Others v Love Bites Ltd & Others [2012] EWPCC 11, 
where [2012] is the year of decision, EWPCC stands for "England and Wales Patents County Court" and the case is the eleventh to have been posted on BAILII for that year.

Says the IPKat's friend Professor Philip Leith, who is not only one of BAILII's Trustees but a man who personally and nobly suffers every one of the charity's headaches:
"Now that we are beginning to move into adding decisions from the IPO to our database, we are not sure what the best format of neutral citations might be. We need something snappy and easy to remember, but also understandable. Perhaps
  • UKPatHear [for Patent Office hearings]
  • UKTradeHear [for Trade Mark Registry hearings]
  • UKDesign [UK Design Registry decisions]
  • UKCopyTrib [for decisions of the Copyright Tribunal, which also currently lurk within the ambit of the IPO]
though I am not sure these are the best in terms of being either snappy or easy to remember. Can your readership can suggest a better system?"
With the aid of his trusty
letter blocks, the Kat was
sure he'd think of something ...
There can be few more better and more creatively gifted online communities than the readership of this weblog [even though most of them are named "Anonymous" and confine their creativity to finding new ways to undermine the authority of their feline friends by posting increasingly deadly comments, Merpel notes]. So here's the challenge: can you come up with some snappy soubriquets for BAILII's next batch of neutral citations? Please email your responses to the IPKat here, with the subject line "BAILII", by not later than next Wednesday, 28 March. Since BAILII has no slush funds for fancy prizes, you may not get much more than a katpat, but the enduring gratitude of generations of IP case-seekers in years to come will be your real reward.  Oh, and the best and/or funniest suggestions will be published -- whether under cover of anonymity or not.
As easy as A, B, C As easy as A, B, C Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. IPOx, where x designates the right in question

    Patent Office hearings: IPOP or IPOPAT
    Trade Mark Registry hearing: IPOT or IPOTM
    UK Design Registry decisions: IPOD or IPORD
    Copyright Tribunal decisions: IPOC or IPOCT

    The scheme is nicely extensible to other sui generis rights, and the IPOx form is catchy and pronouncable for all consonants, several vowels, and many combinations.

  2. I bet there'd be trade mark problems with IPOD ..

  3. Well, shove a hyphen in it, then. [IPO-D].

  4. It would be important to have an easily pronounceable variant for IPO decisions which involved Patents Or TrAde Marks - especially if they involved US-based parties.

    I suggest this would be an 'IPOPOTAMUS.


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