Monday miscellany

"While our IP system is not perfect, it is the envy of the world..." Well, someone was bound to put David Kappos's famous assessment of the United States intellectual property system to the test. There are still a couple of days to go in the IPKat's sidebar poll (on the left-hand side of your screen here, if you're clicking through from your email subscription), but the three questions on which your opinion is sought (non-US readers only, please!) have drawn responses which indicate so far that David's assessment of how the rest of the world views the US IP system is not shared by the rest of the world. If you've not yet voted, please do so: your collective opinion is appreciated, even if it's unlikely to change anything in the immediate future.

On the subject of envy, not everyone envies the Germans, the Japanese, the South Koreans, the Chinese and numerous other jurisdictions their laws which provide secondary protection for innovations through utility model, petty patent, innovation patent and Gebrauchsmuster rights -- but it does seem to this Kat that those countries have done remarkably well by offering them. Wearing his editor-of-JIPLP hat, this Kat will be chairing a seminar on Tuesday 22 January, kindly hosted in the London office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, at which both the positive and negative aspects of secondary protection will be discussed in the light of actual experience in Germany and the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  Over 50 participants have already registered.  If you've not yet signed up for this free event, but would like to do so, just click here for details. And when you attend, keep an open mind: this seminar may change your entire way of thinking!

The Law Society of Scotland and Faculty of Advocates are holding their 6th annual World Intellectual Property Day event, which will be hosted by Roisin Higgins, Advocate and IP specialist and Graeme McWilliams, Legal Adviser, Standard Life. It will take place in Edinburgh on 26 April 2013, from the agreeable hours of midday to 2pm. Details may be obtained here.  Katnote: Scotland, though a small country, has a celebrated reputation for innovation of which it can be justly proud.  Scottish contributions to civilisation include James Watt's steam engine, John Logie Baird's television, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone [says Merpel, he should have called it the Bellophone] and the discovery of penicillin, insulin and electromagnetics.  More recently, we have learned of early successes in a programme to persuade the haggis to breed in captivity ...

Competition Law and Intellectual Property Rights: Whose balance of innovation and incentives? is the subject of a UCL conference which is hosted by the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London next Monday, 14 January. There's a terrific cast of speakers drawn from ranks of (i) those who love IP and (ii) those who might be persuaded to love if it they could only be persuaded of its virtues. Details can be found by clicking here and then clicking a bit more.

Around the weblogs.  Having expressed some misgivings last week about the concept of the "standard royalty rate" for IP licences, this Kat was overjoyed to see Mark Anderson on IP Draughts picking up the theme, shaking it up, turning it inside out and generally rearranging it in his excellent post "Standard Royalty Rates? Ain't No Such Thing".  Crossing the North Atlantic and arriving in Canada, the Kats have now discovered a colleague: Mr I. P. van Couverblog; well, that's not quite right -- the url is but the blogger in question is Steve Szentesi and the blog is called Canadian Competition & Regulatory Law. While the subject is a good deal broader than IP, there's enough content with an IP/IT flavour to make it worth keeping an eye on.  Remaining for a moment in North America, Charles Macedo's editorial for JIPLP on first-to-file and first-to-invent patent law in the US is freely available on the jiplp weblog here.  Back to Europe, take a peep at the IP Headlines by Gevers, the Gevers in question being an enterprising Belgium-based IP practice which, notwithstanding the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Pie Optiek (if you're interested in what constitutes a licence in the EU, click here for that Court's words of wisdom), describes itself as "European Intellectual Property Architects". Finally, the MARQUES Class 46 blog welcomes back fellow Kat Birgit Clark with these two posts here and here, one of which touches on the perennially fascinating topic of gummy bears versus gold-wrapped chocolate bears ...

For the past two years the 1709 Blog has carried pen-portraits by guest contributor Miriam Levenson of composers, artists, authors, sculptors and other creators whose works fell out of copyright this January, at the end of the 70th year from the year of their deaths in what are sometimes called "Life Plus Seventy" countries [without prejudice to the special position that pertains in the United States, adds Merpel].  The twelve who were picked out for special attention this time round, all of whom died, were killed or committed suicide in the tragic year of 1942, are listed here:
Frank Churchill:
"Who's Afraid of 
the Big Bad Wolf?" 

The IPKat has been receiving information from a number of sources, including the illustrious Chris Torrero (katpat!) concerning the decision of National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) to charge licence fees for links.  The gory details can be revealed in all their splendour in this article on the website of McGarr, a small firm of Dublin solicitors consisting entirely of lawyers named MdGarr and McGirr. This firm's interest in the topic of pay-as-you-link developed after a worthy organisation called Women's Aid received "letters, emails and phone calls asserting that they needed to buy a licence because they had linked to articles in newspapers carrying positive stories about their fundraising efforts". The McGarr article adds:
These are the prices for linking they were supplied with:
1 – 5   €300.00 
6 – 10   €500.00 
11 – 15   €700.00 
16 – 25   €950.00 
6 – 50   €1,350.00 
50 + Negotiable
For once, the Kat doesn't think any comment is needed. The matter speaks for itself. Merpel notes that Women's Aid is a worthy charity and hopes that anyone who feels ashamed at this dreadful attempt to monetise activities of this nature will write to the NNI and tell them so.
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, January 07, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. Well, what is intended by the "US Patent System"? Filing up to grant/reexamination/reissue whatever, or also enforcement of rights, the court system, etc?

  2. I think the comment about the US system actually came from David Kappos's predecessor, Jon Dudas, a Bush political apparatchik rather than an IP professional. Personally, I put it down to the US passion for redefining unpleasant things, e.g., it wasn't torture, because "torture" means 90% killing him, whereas we only half-killed him. So, the US has redefined "laughing-stock" as "envy".


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