Wednesday whimsies

8,000 up! It is again with gratitude, and not a little bewilderment, that the IPKat records that this blog now has its 8,000th email subscriber.  It seems like only yesterday that he and Merpel were gazing at the stats, willing the first 49 subscribers to magic themselves into what, in 2003, seemed like the impossibly high figure of 50.  Merpel joins him in expressing a huge dollop of thanks to all their readers and in hoping that we'll have lots of fascinating and fun topics to write about in the coming months and years.

Nicola's coat of arms
Kat to run the IPO.  It is with an unashamed mixture of happiness and sadness that the IPKat informs readers of the impending departure of one of the rarest and most unusual Kats, Nicola Searle (alias the Katonomist).  With effect from 1 January 2013 [how nice to be able to start one's new job on a public holiday!], Dr Nic steps down from the elevated status of Kathood to take an altogether lesser position of running the UK Intellectual Property Office.  Officially her title is "Economic Advisor", so as not to upset the folk who have been working there for years and think they're in charge, but we Kats all know who's the real boss!  Merpel and the rest of the team join the IPKat in wishing Nicola the best of luck in her new position, in which we are all sure she will perform outstandingly.

Picking guest Kats isn't easy:
only one in four knows the
difference between 'licence'
and 'licence'
Kat team news.  Following Nicola's departure (if you read from the bottom of the page upwards, please see the item above) and the expiry of the term of duty of our three guest Kats, the IPKat's blogging line-up is coming up for a bit of a reshuffle.  The new team of six regulars plus three guests which will be serving the IP community from 1 January for the following six months is currently under wraps, but will be unwrapped on 1 January for your edification.  Without giving away any secrets, the IPKat can tell you that Nicola's replacement and two of the three guest Kats have already been sorted out.  The process of appointing even a new guest Kat can be quite difficult: some candidates have plenty to say but can't quite say it, while others have little to say at all but can do it in real style.  Some are fixated on one issue or one IP right, while others omnivorously consume anything remotely resembling the subject. We try to get the right blend and let's hope that, for all our sakes, we succeed.

Don't be fooled by its
cute appearance: the
Pixie-Bob is highly astute
and can even be trained
to write US patent claims ...
Kitto patent? no, Ditto.  Katpats all round for Jody Giesser (DSM) and Wolfgang Flasche (immatics biotechnologies GmbH), who were both swift to spot In Re Frank Robert Ditto -- a decision in which the US Court of Appeals for the Federal [or, given the patent, should that be 'Feral'?] Circuit breed dismissed an appeal against the USPTO's Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences' refusal to grant Ditto's application for a patent. The alleged patentable invention was a domestic cat breed produced by mating a Bobcat, Lynx, or Bobcat Lynx species with a domestic cat. The examiner rejected all twelve claims of the patent because, inter alia, the claims were anticipated by prior art references and were directed to non-statutory subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Pixie-Bobs, as some such cats are called, are well-established in the prior art (as evidenced by articles on the Seattle Times and Bellingham Herald). This decision has been welcomed by all manner of felines, many of which have expressed the relief that, whatever may be the case in unitary Europe, whatever they get up to in the barn on a romantic night is not going to produce any infringing products in the US.

Only licensed, from now on.  The IPKat's eagle eye fastened on to a recent news item, "Armenian Ministry of Economy to Use Only Licensed Software", which appeared in a recent Petosevic newsletter. Apparently, on 30 September the Ministry signed an agreement with Microsoft under the terms of which it would start using only licensed software packages, "thus making it the first Armenian government institution to start using only licensed programs".  This agreement follows an obligation which was accepted by the Armenian government upon itself as long ago as 2007 to use only Microsoft’s licensed programs, as part of the country's copyright protection campaign. What has the Ministry been using for the past five years, this Kat wonders ...
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. I wonder how many of the e-mail subscriptions are alive. I would expect the number of subscriptions to increase even if the audience stayed the same, all the more as the turnover is considerable in the IP world. But I guess it is difficult to know how many dead ends there are.

  2. Anonymous at 14:00

    I'd guess that the vast majority of the email subs are live. The figure fluctuates the whole time as people cancel and new people sign up. Every so often Google (or someone) has a cull and the figure suddenly drops dramatically by 50 or 60, and the email list can take a week or more to regain the loss.

    Given the number of people working in IP worldwide, and given that online translation services now make the blog available to non-English readers, the size of the email list is actually very small.

    One thing I can't tell you is how many people actually read the emails they receive. Nor can I tell you how many people receive emails at two different addresses -- though I know several people who do that.

  3. In my experience an astonishingly low proportion of UK patent attorneys read or subscribe to your blog, as they simply don't seem to have sufficient interest in IP related matters. It's just what they do during the day to earn a living. Nor do they read the CIPA journal, and they reluctantly keep up with case law as they have to. Passionate people are rare in the world.

  4. The process of appointing even a new guest Kat can be quite difficult: some candidates have plenty to say but can't quite say it, while others have little to say at all but can do it in real style.

    Names? ;-)

    "Re Ditto" - quite fitting for a cat copy. Or is it a copycat?

    The alleged patentable invention was a domestic cat breed produced by mating a Bobcat, Lynx, or Bobcat Lynx species with a domestic cat.

    Meh! Obvious to try - if you're a cat. But then, who's the inventor?

    "Armenian Ministry of Economy to Use Only Licensed Software"

    When you install OpenOffice or LibreOffice (or LaTeX) you are also subject to the terms of a licence.

    Or did they really mean: "Armenia will now exclusively use Microsoft software, and pay 500$ per copy of Microsoft Office"?

  5. Talking of public holidays - what is going on at the EPO, closing almost for unprecedented two full weeks this year? 2013 is already planned the same way...

    A no, it's not a Boxing Day thing:

    Surely, these will be some busy days over the new year holidays for all patent practitioners (with all the 'accumulated' priorities rolling over).

  6. Does Nicola (or anyone else)assume that working for the IPO and writing for IPKAT are mutually exclusive ?

    BTW such a shame about being an 'economist' - could she turn her hand to examining patents or trade marks ?


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