Friday fantasies

It is with great sadness that the IPKat has learned of the sad and unexpected loss of his friend Michal du Vall, who died of a heart attack last week while on a ski holiday in Italy. He was just 60. Michal, Vice-Rector for Human Resources and Financial Management at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, was a genuine intellectual property enthusiast. This Kat first met Michal at a truly appalling intellectual property conference in Sofia, in what was then Communist-governed Bulgaria.  Over a refreshing beer or two it became apparent that here was a man with a mind of his own, constructively critical but always in a kind and gentle way. He was a man with whom it was always easy to have a discussion but well-nigh impossible to pick a fight. The Kat's condolences go to Michal's wife Barbara and his two children. May they be spared to see only happiness in future.  Merpel notes that Michal is the second leading light in Polish intellectual property circles to have passed away early; it is not so long since we lost Berenika Depo, whom we still remember with respect and affection.

The IPKat's poll is now closed on what to do about the weekly "Looking for something?" feature, which lists and links the week's previous features on the weblog which readers might otherwise have missed.  Exactly 100 responses were received, of which 64 were in favour of retaining these posts, 23 thought it was neither here nor there and the remaining 13 considered it a waste of time. On this basis, the Kat will carry on with these summaries. Thanks for letting him know.

This Kat is pleased to inform his readers that the Arts and Humanities Research Council Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh (fortunately it's bbreviated to ‘SCRIPT’, not 'AHRCCSIPTL') is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. To mark this event, a delicious cake has been baked and SCRIPT is hosting a conference in Edinburgh on the theme of ‘Law and Transformation’.  The law is that of IP; the transformation is that of the cake. The dates are 6, 7 and 8 June 2012. If you want to know more about the conference programme, details of the calls for papers and the recipe of the cake, you can get some useful information from the conference website here.

Earlier this week, when writing up his little note on Woolley and Timesource v Ultimate Products Ltd and Henley's Clothing Ltd [2012] EWHC 339 (Ch) ("The Ultimate watchmakers case: passing off leads to a ticking off" here, this Kat chanced to comment on the fact that the case in question was not yet available on the BAILII website.  Well, it is now: you can access it, free of charge, just here.

Around the weblogs.  When he's not frittering away those long and idle hours of the workday in scouring the internet for amusing pictures of cats to send to Merpel, then emailing to find out why she hasn't posted them on the blog, the IPKat's friend Howard Knopf can turn his hand to some neat blogging, as his piece for Excess Copyright on the recent European ruling on the communication of free dental music.  Not surprisingly, since Howard is quite long in the tooth, this is not his first brush with tooth-related topics: back in February 2010 he waxed lyrical over the false report of Gordon Lightfoot's death, which broke while the latter was on his way back from the dentist.  Meanwhile, over on the jiplp weblog, Herbert Smith's Joel Smith, Rachel Montagnon and Anna Gibson write on another recent European ruling and explain that Red Bull can't sue a canning plant for trade mark infringement when it is commissioned to can drinks for its clients but does not sell anything to the public. With the 2012 UK budget coming out next week, this Kat's friends at Olswang LLP are gearing up The Olswang Tax Blog.  If there are any major announcements concerning IP, they'll be posted on the Tax Blog before they appear on this one.

Buttie and the Busst.  The Kat's post earlier this week about the pub called The Hobbit, which was coming under legal attack from the owners of the trade mark and merchandising rights in the cute little fellows, has generated a large postbag and a huge number of links. It seems that the naming of places of refreshment after Tolkien's greatest creation is almost a national obsession.  Could it be, perhaps, because so much of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings consists of eating, drinking, talking about food, the power of food and so on. Representative of the links received is this one from long-term blog-reader Lee Curtis (katpat!) on The Hungry Hobbit, a cafe and sandwich bar run by one Wendy Busst (real name, it seems).  Ms Busst has offered to drop the aitch, amending Hobbit to 'Obbit, in the hope (should that be 'ope?) that this will placate the rights owners. Given the widespread practice in the British Isles of dropping the initial 'h', many people --and most youngsters -- probably say 'Obbit already, so this Kat doubts that this olive branch will prove to be anything more than a fig leaf ...
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, March 16, 2012 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. I read the Henley judgement and then your earlier post.

    In the last para you say: "Merpel marvels that a business can take a licence from a brand owner, establish a good trading position, then decide it can do without the licence and expect to get away with it."

    But at the end of para 34 of the judgement, the judge says, "I therefore propose to consider the material facts for the purposes of the claim in passing off without regard to the previous existence of the trademark licence."

    So how relevant was the licence to the way the judgement went?


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