Friday fantasies

Wanted: one Tsar
IP Tsar? No chance, say the Brits.  Managing Intellectual Property had a bit of a scoop this week, picking up very quickly on the news that Lord Younger of Leckie, the current Minister for Intellectual Property in the United Kingdom, announced that his government had no plans to introduce an IP Tsar along the lines of the apparently successful Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the United States.  The Minister took the opportunity to remind the world that the UK is the only country in the world that has a Minister for Intellectual Property.  This Kat takes the opportunity to remind the Minister that the UK is the only country in the world that has Ministers for Intellectual Property who appear to be serially incapable of providing any measure of meaningful support and understanding to the IP community.  Merpel keeps misreading 'Minister for Intellectual Property' as 'Minister for Ineffectual Puffery': let's hope she's wrong ...

Wave that paw ...!
Around the weblogs. There's been plenty of exciting material in the field of IP this week -- indeed, a good deal more than a Kat can wave a paw at. Over on the 1709 Blog, Iona Harding tackles SAS v WPL and the continuing question of whether copyright can vest in a computer language, while Simon Fogarty guests some hot and revealing news concerning New Zealand's three sheep strikes and you're out file-sharing ruling.  Over on Class 99, another special informant, Marlou L. J. van der Braak, spills the beans on a Dutch Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TV design infringement action that itself falls flat, and on The SPC Blog we learn from Laëtitia Bénard how the French have decided to step into line with the rest of Europe when it comes to applications for preliminary injunctive relief to protect a supplementary protection certificate for a combination product.

Earlier this week the International Trademark Association (INTA) elected another of the IPKat's old friends Toe Su Aung as the 2013 President of the Association and Chair of its Board of Directors. This Kat wishes her the very best of luck in her new office in which, he is sure, she will be a sure-fire hit.  Not a person to tangle with, Toe Sue lists Body Combat among her non-IP-related pastimes.

"Did you ever hear of Lex Machina?", asked the IPKat's old friend Steve Getzoff (Reed Smith LLP). "No", said the Kat, but he can now tell you something about it.  As Steve explains, "Lex Machina has developed a more sophisticated way to do IP legal research using advanced search techniques. The technology was developed at Stanford and utilizes so-called machine learning (the same field of computing research that used to be known as artificial intelligence) to provide methods of discovering relevant information and relating it to a legal question. They are currently focused on the patent and trade mark area".  If you'd like to know a bit more, you can easily find out yourself by visiting Lex Machina here.

Keeping it simple is not so stupid.  UK and Australian patent attorney Daniel Rosenthal has written to tell the IPKat and Merpel all about a  website for people who want to describe their jobs (mainly scientific research) using only the 1,000 most common English words. Daniel has himself had a bash at a description of the patent system and the work of a patent attorney (here).

"Some people have ideas about how to make or do new things, or how to do known things better, and spend a lot of time and, often, money, getting those ideas to work to make something that helps others. I help these people stop other people from using those ideas without asking, for some time, so that they can make back the money they have spent, and get some more money for having had the good idea and spending all the time needed to make it work. After a while (at most about twenty one years) anyone is allowed to use the idea as much as they want to, even without asking the person who first had the idea, which is good for everyone. 
In order to be able to stop other people using the idea (without asking the person who first had it) the idea must have been new, and must not have been too easy for other people (even people who knew a lot about the area of the idea) to have arrived at, at the time when we first asked to be allowed to stop other people from using it without asking. Also, we must tell everyone exactly how to make the idea work, so that anyone can do it easily when the twenty one years are over. I help to find out what it is about the idea that is new, and to explain to everyone, in writing, exactly how to make the idea work, and that they may not use the new bit without asking".

Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, February 01, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. Regarding Daniel Rosenthal's description of a patent attorney, it just goes to show how important a rich language is when trying to convey information. It reminded me of Newspeak in a way.

    Just imagine having to claim an invention with only 1000 words at your disposal!

  2. I'm certainly glad we don't have to write like that all the time, but I thought it was an interesting exercise. Others have posted on the website describing their research in areas like protein crystallography using the same vocabulary! On the upside, my six year old daughter now has some understanding of what I do! Cheers, Daniel


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