Monday Miscellany II

Cats and cafes ...  Visitors to one of Vienna's newest cafes have more than just other customers to beat to a good seat, as the venue is a home from home for five cats. Cafe Neko is the brainchild of Takako Ishimitsu, a Japanese woman who moved to Vienna 20 years ago. A katpat goes to the esteemed and excellent Estelle Derclaye for the link on this topic to the BBC. A further katpat will go to whoever drafts the best claim for a United States business method patent for the purpose of protecting the five-cat-cafe formula against competition.

Pudsey: great support
for Children in Need
Gone to the dogs ... The IPKat has received all sorts of links from readers to the news that Pudsey the Dancing Dog has won Britain's Got Talent, with the prospect of a £10 million bone bonus in the form of lucrative contracts. Only one correspondent -- the thoughtful Margaret Llewelyn -- has however picked up the intellectual property issue that immediately concerned this Kat, who is the proud owner of a Pudsey Bear lunch-box which Mrs Kat gave him as an anniversary present some years ago.  Margaret notes that BGT impresario Simon Cowell has 'trademarked' the name Pudsey. The word mark PUDSEY BEAR is already registered by the BBC for goods and services in Classes 9, 16, 25, 28, 36, 38 and 41. These include typewriters -- something this Kat hasn't used since some time last century -- and "amusement apparatus (not being coin fed)" in Class 28, a description of service which, suggests Merpel, might well fit a dancing dog.  Might PUDSEY and PUDSEY BEAR survive together on the register? Are dogs and bears conceptually similar?  Watch this space for further instalments ...

... and a word from a Wolf.  The IPKat's friend Wolf has tipped him off that there's a new publication, launched today by the World Trade Organization, that might interest some of his readers.  It's called "15 years of the Information Technology Agreement: Trade, innovation and global production networks" -- which is actually quite difficult to say in one go without taking a breath, says the Kat [or yawning, says Merpel, who thinks a sexier title would make it sell better: how about "From Nothing to Zero in 15 Years"?] Anyway, the new publication charts trade and innovation developments since the inception, in 1996, of the ITA Agreement which unites WTO Members that have committed to reduce tariffs on selected IT products to zero over time. Chapter 3 relates some patent statistics and also highlights potential challenges for innovation -- such as the long-term effects of outsourcing and off-shoring of manufacturing on the ability of firms to innovate. You can access this document here.

Around the weblogs. The 48th whistle-stop on Afro-IP's tour of official national African IP sites sadly doesn't detain the intrepid Kingsley Egbuonu very long: the internet doesn't seem to count for much in Swaziland, it seems. Talking of counting, the Kat's not sure how much copyright counts for in the wonderful world of comic covers, but he was fascinated by some of the imagery he found on Covered: artists re-interpreting comic covers. A quick word-search of the submission guidelines reveals no traces of 'law', 'legal', 'copyright', 'permission', 'infringe', 'sue' or 'indemnity' ... This is said not to be a parody site and, in the event that there is a statutory parody defence floating around, the site might not therefore be able to avail itself of it.

Popeye knocks out Poldo. If the characters on the right look a little like Popeye and J. Wellington Wimpy, think again -- they're actually Romanian and they have been trying to sneak on to the trade mark register in that lovely country. The application to register POLDO for goods and services in Classes 30, 35 and 43 of the Nice Classification did not succeed, folllowing an opposition filed by Hearst Holdings Inc, the owner of the IP rights in the talismanic tar and his friends.

In a decision which, having remained unchallenged, can be regarded as final, the Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trade Marks (SOIT) considered that the opponent’s figurative trade marks were renowned worldwide, a concept which clearly included Romania. Registration of the national trade mark POLDO would enable the applicant to take unfair advantage of Olive Oyl the reputation enjoyed by the opponent’s trade marks. The fact that the mark applied for contained the word element 'Poldo', which was not hugely similar to 'Popeye', was insufficient to outweigh the similarities.

In a kind gesture of opportunism conciliation, the applicant said it was willing to remove the figurative elements (ie, the graphical representation of Popeye the Sailor and Wimpy) from its trade mark in order for its application to be accepted. This gesture was however futile: it could not have taken SOIT more than a couple of microseconds to spot that the elimination of the figurative elements would leave the applicant with such a totally different mark that what was needed was a fresh application [and one which might attract some interest from proprietors of trade marks containing the word 'polo', Merpel thinks].

Source: "Owner of Popeye and Wimpy figurative marks prevents registration of combined mark", by Delia Belciu and Andreea Bende (Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen, Bucharest), published online by World Trademark Review, 8 May 2012.
Monday Miscellany II Monday Miscellany II Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, May 14, 2012 Rating: 5

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