Wednesday Whimsies II

Feline fascination with human folly is endless. People do such silly things. They push at doors which have "pull" signs on them, they chop meat up into tiny pieces and then stick it together again and call it a burger, and they have even been known to break into prisons in order to carry out robberies. Latest in line in this list is the opening of a fake Primark store in Dubai (here and here). For those not familiar with the concept, Primark is a super-cheapo retail chain, the sort of place you go to if you prefer to buy new clothes instead of washing your old ones but don't want to spend too much. Why Dubai -- one of the world's most affluent places -- was chosen for this exercise is a complete puzzle to this Kat. Surely, if you're going to fake an entire store, you'd be better advised to trespass on an upmarket brand and make sure that your per-item proft margin reflects the value of the counterfeit brand you've copied.

The European Patent Office (EPO) can't be faulted for its efforts to find points of common interest with leading entities in the private sector. Only recently the Office teamed up with Google to solve the continent's translation problems.  Now it is hand-and-hand with Logica, with which it seeks to introduce a "world leading patent management system".  According to the press release
"The EPO and Logica have announced an important project that will contribute to significantly reducing costs and improving timeliness for the patenting process in Europe. Logica and the EPO are set to introduce one of the most advanced, fully digital patent offices in the world, enabling applicants and inventors to register their patents and all concerned in processing them in a more efficient and cost effective way. Under the agreement Logica will help the EPO establish a comprehensive, secure and innovative case management system, that will digitally process patent applications at all stages of the patent grant process including: • Patent searching • Filing the application with the Office • Publication • Substantive examination • The handling of legal remedies, such as opposition and appeal". 
Says Merpel, what's the betting that the EPO's next venture will be with Amazon, establishing the world's first one-click patent filing system.  Can readers think of any others?

It is with great sadness that the IPKat records the passing of one of his first readers -- Guy Selby-Lowndes -- who died earlier this month at the ripe old age of 83.  Guy, a patent attorney, was a regular feature at IPKat, 1709 Blog, IP Finance and other blog seminars, at which speakers and registrants alike were often treated to the benefit of his sage but gentle counsel. While in practice with Kodak back in the early days of the Patents Act 1977, he offered this Kat a good deal of encouragement and support, which was welcomed then and warmly recalled now.  Friends will know him as a man whose boundless curiosity and analytical powers made him an ideal person with whom to share a conversation on any subject. A great animal-lover, he is pictured here with his cat, Olly, who sadly survived him by only a few days.  There will be a memorial service at Holy Trinity, Bramley (in Surrey, his village of birth) on Monday 14 May 2012 at 2.30pm. 

Continuing on a sombre note, the Kat has further news concerning the unexpected recent passing of Professor John Adams (see earlier note here). The funeral will take place this Friday, 27 April, starting at 1.30 pm at the Rutland Hotel, 452 Glossop Road, Sheffield, moving to Crookes Cemetery
at 2.30 pm for the burial -- then afterwards, as John would have liked. back to the Rutland Hotel for refreshments.  If you are intending to come for the refreshments, please email David Grey here and let him know, so he can get a rough idea of numbers. If you want to mark John's life with a suitable gesture of affection or respect, please make a donation, payable to the British Heart Foundation, and send it, marked "In memory of John Adams", to Wood Funeral Service, 848 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield S11 8TP.  The Kat understands that plans are underway for a memorial gathering for John, to be held in London on Saturday 16 June, probably at lunchtime.  Further details are awaited.

Madrid Highlights.  The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been busy producing a new publication dedicated to international trade mark filing: Madrid Highlights. This, WIPO explains, is
" ... a quarterly publication focusing on keeping Madrid system’s stakeholders up to date with the latest developments within the Madrid system and providing information on the activities of the Sector. The Madrid Highlights also offers to subscribers the opportunity to raise issues and concerns and to seek responses from our in-house experts. Contributions and content in the Madrid Highlights are published in the English language only". 
You can subscribe to the new journal here (it's free) and download the first issue here. This looks like a good initiative, but Merpel is most perplexed.  The cover story is all about how the Madrid and Lisbon registries have relocated to a smart new administrative building, "which looks onto Geneva’s Place des Nations and is the work of the award-winning Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany" -- she doesn't imagine that many readers are even remotely interested in this piece of information, since they don't have to go to Geneva in person and find the front door in order to make a Madrid filing.  Even more curiously, according to the contents, "Useful Information" doesn't start till page 6.  Notwithstanding these minor blemishes, WIPO deserves a qualified katpat for this initiative. If you want to encourage the organisation to do more, or just want to share your constructive thoughts with it, be assured that feedback is welcome.

Trial and error -- or Trier and ERA? The Kats' friends Arnaud Folliard-Monguiral (OHIM) and Simon Malynicz (3 New Square) are both among those speaking at a two-day event which has been organised by the Academy for European Law (ERA) for 31 May and 1 June in Trier on "Litigating Before the ECJ in Intellectual Property Cases (details here). The programme seeks to cover everything from how to draft and file appeals, the formalities, regularising the appeal, how to do hearings and how to keep yourself amused in Luxembourg. The programme even includes tips from translators on how to make your written and oral advocacy compelling [Merpel would like it if the judges went on a programme to make their judgments more compelling ...]. This looks like great stuff and this Kat hopes that practitioners will avail themselves of this wonderful opportunity.

Some stories are so good that there's no point trying to improve them.  A big katpat goes to Oliver Herzfeld for this link to "The Trademarked Beard", written by Masha Gessen and hosted on Latitude. The beard in question belongs to one V. I. Pugach whose mugshot (or should that be Pugshot) appears  on the right. Says Gessen,
"Pugach's Web site ... points to documents from the Russian trademark office suggesting that he have managed to make this beard his own and that anyone who wants to wear the thing has to get a license from him. That costs about $600 a year for most individuals but roughly $30,000 for popular actors and $4 million for television channels". 
As for the rest of this tale, we leave it to you to read and enjoy ...
Wednesday Whimsies II Wednesday Whimsies II Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. There are plenty of "budget" stores in Dubai. Poundstretcher are about to open and other UK high street shops like Peacocks and New Look are already present. Dubai is not immune from recession and allegations of low pay, for example to migrant workers in the construction sector, have been widely reported. Perhaps it wasn't such a daft idea to counterfeit a store like Primark, on the basis that a) it would be popular and b) shoppers would not necessarily scrutinise the goods that closely for authenticity.

  2. "Says Merpel, what's the betting that the EPO's next venture will be with Amazon, establishing the world's first one-click patent filing system."

    Does Merpel not know how close to the truth she has come?


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